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2020 Bird Portrait contest finalists

In late 2020, BirdWatching received more than 700 photos entered into our Bird Portrait contest from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was stellar, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a challenging task! Today we are proud to present the 12 finalist photos, featured in the following slideshow. 

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website tomorrow, and they’ll be featured in our May/June issue.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker by Robert Henderson

Yellow-billed Oxpecker by Robert Henderson

In November 2019, Robert Henderson of Chelsea, Michigan, visited Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, where he shot this photo.

"I took the image on the way from the airstrip to our camp," he says. "It was the beginning of the 'small rains,' and there had been a shower the previous evening. We passed a herd of zebra that included several individuals that were enthusiastically rolling around in the dust. The cloud of dust is very visible in the image. One of the zebras provided a good perch for a group of three Yellow-billed Oxpeckers who appeared to be having a conference. The two juvenile oxpeckers are looking for a handout, but to no avail. They are going to have to find their own tasty ticks for dinner. Everyone who visits East Africa has pictures of these ubiquitous birds on their favorite animals, but I really like the way the stripes of the zebra swirl and focus attention on the birds, and the hazy feel the dust in the background gives to the image."

Equipment and settings: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF 100-400 mm f/ 4.5-5.6 IS II USM lens with Canon 1.4X III teleconverter. 1/1000 sec, f/8.0, ISO 800, 560 mm. Handheld.

Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our Founding Editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura Erickson; and Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts. 

View the 12 honorable mentions from our 2020 Bird Portrait contest

View the finalists from our 2019 Bird Portrait contest

UPDATE, MARCH 12: We have announced the winners!

First place: Cedar Waxwing

Second place: Elegant Trogon

Third place: Wood Duck

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