National Geographic wildlife photos

BuzzFeed has compiled some lovely snaps: “The 35 most spectacular wildlife photos from the National Geographic Traveler photo contest.” You can see more entries over at National Geographic and vote for your favorite.  In the meantime, here’s a handful of my favorites from the BuzzFeed compilation.

(Click photos to enlarge: photo credits are in lower right corner.)

I suspect this first one is staged: how often do chameleons come down from the trees?


This photo of a desert fox takes the prize for Cutest Entry, even though it’s a d-g. Look at those ears! (Desert mammals like the jackrabbit often have large ears, which act as radiators for excess body heat.)


Gator in the rain:


I don’t know how the photographer got this one unless he was buried in the ground and covered by glass!


No comment necessary:


Lovebirds (well, I don’t know if they’re technically lovebirds, but they’re clearly affectionate):

loving parrots

Barn owl on the wing:


More parrots; perhaps some reader can identify the species:


Second prize for cuteness: baby penguins.


This reptilian chapeau may be a Drosophila:

snake and fly

Again, I don’t know the species, but I’m sure a reader will oblige. An amazing photo taken at the moment of a fish strike:


h/t: Ed Yong via Matthew Cobb


  1. Dave
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Last photo is an osprey.
    The owl on the wing looks like a short-eared owl, definitely not a barn owl.

    • Diego
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      I love that osprey shot! And I just love ospreys in general.

      By the way you can also clearly see the zygodactyl toe arrangement (digits II and III face anteriorly and I and IV face posteriorly).

    • Charles Jones
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      My 12-year-old daughter immediately recognized the owl as a short-eared owl. She insisted we file a correction!

      We went back to the National Geographic source, and it is in fact ID’d as a short-eared owl in the original caption.

  2. Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks; I stand corrected. I trust that my many biologically-informed readers will eventually identify all the species. What about the fox?

  3. Diego
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Looks like a fennec fox to me.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      Named Erwin of course
      [hard to recognise without his trademark goggles]

  4. Adrian
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Yes, the owl is Short-eared, Long-eared has orange eyes. Yes also to Osprey.

    The parakeet flock is Rose-ringed or Alexandrine, I favour the first as I can’t see any red patches in the upperwing.

  5. Adrian
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Pressed Post too early.

    The “lovebirds” are Red-fronted Parrot, I think.
    AKA Jardine’s Parrot.

  6. darrelle
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Ah well. I thought I finally might have some useful input identifying a species, but three out of the first five comments beat me to it!

  7. Stephen
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Is the snake a boomslang (tree snake)? I’m very bad at identifying snakes, but the eyes and the shape of the head look to me like that of a boomslang.

  8. BilBy
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    The chamaeleon is at the the Avenue of Baobabs near Morondava in Madagascar. Madagascar has hundreds of species of chams and many are ground dwellers. That looks like an arboreal species but even they will descend to cross open spaces. This shot might be set up but does reflect what chams do.

    • Posted June 20, 2013 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      I was lucky enough to be there about 4 years ago. What an amazing place…

      • BilBy
        Posted June 20, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        It certainly is. Madagascar as a whole is mind-blowing for anyone with an interest in biology.

  9. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I read a blurb on the horse shot but I cannot remember where. It wasn’t shot through glass or some similar scenario, rather that particular horse had a “girth” (think chest strap) with a camera fixed to the bottom.

    • DV
      Posted June 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      If it was done that way, the camera must have been firing continuously. With all the shaking it would have ended up taking shots pointed in all directions with most shots probably blurred. But the photographer needed only one shot to come out right.

  10. magster2
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one who saw an avian Count Dracula and his latest victim instead of lovebirds?

  11. Neil Faulkner
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The flying parrots look like Ring-necked (or Rose-ringed) Parakeets (Psittacula krameri). There’s been a feral population down my way (SE England) since about 1972 and I see them almost daily. But there are some similar species that I’m not familiar with so these birds might be one of them.

  12. Posted June 21, 2013 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on yasarnorman.

  13. DV
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The horses photo was likely done by remote shutter trigger or time-delay trigger (once or multiple triggers). The camera itself may have been encased in protection or just left to be trampled on. The shot is worth the price of the camera, if you can retrieve the memory card afterwards.

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