Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Winning images from 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year competition

An impressionistic image of European Shags by Majed AlZa’abi from Kuwait took top prize in the 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year contest, which is run by the UK-based conservation charity Birds on the Brink. Majed wins the top prize of £5,000 (about $6,500) and the title “Bird Photographer of the Year 2020.” Majed’s image was also the winning image in the Best Portrait category of the competition, and for that he wins a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars.

The judging team, which included BirdWatching Contributing Editor Brian Small and Editor Matt Mendenhall, said this about the shag photo: 

“To win this competition, it takes a very special photograph. Technical perfection is simply not enough; it is the imaginative eye and a mind that seeks out the unusual and the artistic in the everyday that will do well. The vast majority of the 15,000 images entered annually are of an amazing standard, sufficient eye-candy to feed even the most visually gluttonous. But create a photograph that makes us sick with envy or cry out with uncontained excitement, then you are in with a chance. When that collective shout from the judges is ‘I wish I had taken that myself’, then you are onto a winner. Well done Majed for sharing this stunning image with us – it is a well-deserved winner.”

The slideshow below features the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners of each category, as well as the contest’s Inspirational Encounters Award, which conveys a photographer’s significant moment with a bird. The images here represent some of the very best bird photographs we have ever seen. Enjoy! 

Black and White Gold Award

Black and White Gold Award
Previous
Next

SINGLE ROOM AVAILABLE by Robert Sommer, Germany.

Common Starling, The Netherlands.

Photographer's Story: One day, I spent the period around sunrise photographing a windmill in the northern Netherlands. From nowhere, I noticed twittering calls, which became louder and louder, and it turned out that Common Starlings were producing the sound. By the end of the shoot, the upper part of the windmill was full of starlings, so I went to my car to get a longer lens and tried to capture the abstract scene. Because of the strongly geometric form, I decided that the image worked better in black and white than it did with its original color.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Sigma 500mm f/4L DG OS HSM lens. Focal length 500mm; 1/640 second; f/4; ISO 640.


More photo contest winners

2019 Bird Photographer of the Year winners  

2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards winners

Audubon’s 2020 photo contest winners

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free