Readers’ wildlife photos

January 5, 2021 • 8:00 am

John Avise has a non-faux-duck submission today, but there’s a theme. His IDs and text are indented, and click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Black-and-White Birds in Color

Most birds have superb color vision, so perhaps it is not too surprising that evolution under sexual selection has imbued various species with a rainbow of bright plumages.  Nevertheless, I think that some of the most strikingly beautiful (or at least most striking) avian species are those with plumages patterned solely in black and white, sometimes also with shades of grey.  To see what I mean, check out these color photographs of a diverse array of black-and-white birds from around the world.  Essentially the only colors in these pictures come from the backgrounds.

Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans (California):

Clark’s Nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana (California):

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus (Michigan):

Downy Woodpecker female, Picoides pubescens (Michigan):

Black-and-White Warbler, Mniotilta varia (California):

Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus (California):

Black-billed Magpie, Pica hudsonia (Colorado):

Eurasian Magpie, Pica pica (Norway):

Barnacle Goose, Branta leucopsis (Finland):

White Wagtail, Motacilla aloba (Norway):

Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibican (Australia):

Willie Wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys (Australia):

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis (South Africa):

Blacksmith Lapwing, Vanellus armatus (South Africa):

Pied Crow, Corvus albus (South Africa):

Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae (Antarctica):

21 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful pictures. I must say, “shrike” has always been one of my favorite words – it sounds like something fierce and fast and dangerous. I’ve never seen a picture of a shrike before, though, and it’s really quite beautiful in its minimalist way. And I guess, in their bailiwick, they ARE fierce and fast and dangerous.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous photos–and I love the black/white theme, also the fact that the birds are from around the world.

    1. For photos of this species, see the WEIT post for the Common Loon (also known as the Great Northern Diver). It was our “Faux Duck o’ the Week” for December 20, 2020.

  3. Speaking of poetry (above), and of Australian magpies, I give you NZ poet Denis Glover’s “The Magpies””:

    When Tom and Elizabeth took the farm
    The bracken made their bed
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies said

    Tom’s hand was strong to the plough
    and Elizabeth’s lips were red
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies said

    Year in year out they worked
    while the pines grew overhead
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies said

    But all the beautiful crops soon went
    to the mortgage man instead
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies said

    Elizabeth is dead now (it’s long ago)
    Old Tom’s gone light in the head
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies said

    The farm’s still there. Mortgage corporations
    couldn’t give it away
    and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle
    The magpies say.

      1. Great set of photos! I have only seen three of them in my area. It’s nice to see birds from other parts of the world.

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