Bird Photo Gallery by Tim Flach | BBC Wildlife Magazine

ByDavid M. Conte

Nov 17, 2021

About Tim Flach and Richard O. Pfum

Tim Flach’s mission as a photographer is to better connect people to the natural world. His previous Abrams books include In danger (2017), More than human (2012), Dogs (2010), and Equus (2008). Honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society, he lives and works in London.

Portrait of Tim Flach. © 2021 Tim Flach

Richard O. Prum is the author of The evolution of beauty (2017), named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. A professor of ornithology at Yale University and a MacArthur Fellow, he lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

About the book

The birds of the world are portrayed in all their colorful splendor by Tim Flach, the world’s greatest wildlife photographer. Radiant with grace, intelligence and humor, and always on the move, birds titillate the human imagination.

Working for years in his studio and in the field, Tim Flach has portrayed nature’s most exquisite creatures at alert rest or in flight in spectacular fashion, capturing intricate feather patterns and subtle coloring invisible to the naked eye. .

Cover of Birds by Tim Flach.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Book credit: Birds by Tim Flach, text by Richard Prum (Abrams, £ 45)
Image credit: © 2021 Tim Flach

From familiar friends to wonderful rarities, the birds of Flach convey the beauty and wonders of the natural world. Here are all kinds of songbirds, parrots and birds of paradise; birds of prey, water birds and theatrical domestic breeds. The brilliant ornithologist Richard O. Prum is our guide in this magical kingdom.

To view the images as a slideshow, click on the arrows at the top right of the photos below.

Toco toucan

Scientific name: Ramphastos toco
Vary: Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Guyana, French Guiana and Peru

Toco toucan.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Recognize this character? Perhaps this is because in the early 1930s, British artist and publicist John Gilroy transformed a caricature of the toco toucan into one of the most visible corporate mascots of the twentieth century, the Guinness Toucan, who was swinging a glass of beer on his spout.

Toucans have become a cherished symbol of the rainforest and are now among the most popular birds in the world, adorning the covers of cereal boxes and playing in children’s cartoons.

mandarin duck

Scientific name: Aix galericulata
Vary: Japan, China, Taiwan and Russia; introduced in Europe

Mandarin duck.  © 2021 Tim Flach

The male mandarin duck is a product of sexual selection, the evolutionary dynamic driven by the choice of the female mate. As with most other ducks, the male plays no role in rearing the young, so a female can choose her mate primarily based on her aesthetic appeal. This creates a strong selective pressure favoring the most extravagant males, and as females repeat this process over millions of generations, it can create amazingly beautiful birds.

American flamingo

Scientific name: Phenicopterus ruber
Vary: Caribbean Islands and Central and South America

American flamingo.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Unlike many other gregarious birds, the flamingos, pictured here as a group, or “flamboyance,” are also exceptionally cooperative breeders: rather than just defending their own newly hatched offspring, the birds herd their unsightly, flightless cubs together. in a crib, which is then defended by a few appointed guards.

This innovative day care system allows the rest of the adults to spend the whole day looking for food, allowing birds to collect more food and feed more mouths without increasing the risk of predation.

Gray Crowned Crane

Scientific name: Balearica regulorum
Vary: South Africa

Gray-crowned crane.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Unlike other cranes, which are unable to perch, the Gray Crowned Crane and the closely related Black Crowned Crane both have a prehensile rear toe that allows them to perch in trees, helping them avoid the many predators that lurk in the African savannas where they live. . Most other crane species roost on the ground or in shallow water.

Atlantic puffin

Scientific name: Arctic Fratercule
Vary: North Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean

Atlantic puffin.  © 2021 Tim Flach

These flaming birds spend most of their lives far out at sea, using their wings as fins to propel themselves
themselves in the water as they dive in search of small fish.

Each spring, however, they return to small, uninhabited islands to breed, where they use their colorful beaks and legs to dig the burrows in which they lay their eggs. Sometimes reaching over 1m in depth, these burrows protect chicks from predators and high winds, and a single pair of these long-lived birds can reuse the same burrow for decades.

Gentoo penguin

Scientific name: Papuan Pygoscelis
Vary: Southern Ocean

Gentoo penguins.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Although penguins may be unable to fly, they are well adapted to fly in water. Using its residual wings as paddles, its rear feet as propellers, and its stiff tail feathers as rudders, the gentoo penguin can drive its torpedo-shaped body through water at over 35 km / h, the fastest speed recorded by any swimming bird.

Knotted hornbill

Scientific name: Rhyticeros cassidix
Vary: Indonesia

Knotted hornbill.  © 2021 Tim Flach

The breathtakingly beautiful beak of the humpback hornbill is the result of colored pigments in the keratin layer. A beak is not a solid structure, but rather a hollow bony growth of the skull sheathed in a thin layer of keratin, the same protein found in our fingernails. Like nails, this keratinous envelope constantly grows back to heal nicks and scratches. Unlike us, birds can deposit colored pigments into the protein matrix as it grows.

Blue-throated macaw

Scientific name: Ara glaucogularis
Vary: Bolivia

Blue-throated Macaw.  © 2021 Tim Flach

Back to the brink: Once thought to be extinct in the wild, the Blue-throated Macaw was rediscovered by bird watchers living in the remote pastures of central Bolivia in 1992. Since then, environmentalists have taken action. drastic measures to protect the bird, still listed as critically endangered, from wildlife trafficking, the creation of reserves to protect their habitat from poachers and even to encourage local indigenous groups who traditionally used feathers from poachers. ‘macaw in their ceremonial hairstyles to use artificial feathers instead.

Red bird of paradise

Scientific name: Paradisaea rubra
Vary: Indonesia

Red Bird of Paradise. © 2021 Tim Flach

Over the past twenty-three million years, the forty-two bird of paradise species have all diverged from a single, crow-like ancestor to the mind-boggling variety of shapes now found in New Guinea. and in the surrounding islands.

This makes this family a classic example of allopatric speciation: while different populations are geographically isolated from each other by high mountain ranges or oceanic straits, different selection pressures and random genetic drift have caused different independent groups to evolve towards distinct forms that could no longer reproduce. .