Collection image

Nature's Best Photography 2013

Last updated over 1 year ago

Learn more about the species in the exhibition of winners from the 2013 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. Visit the online gallery at Nature's Best Photography.

  • 76098_88_88 Animalia > Accipitridae

    Haliaeetus leucocephalus

    American Eagle

    The Bald Eagle belongs to a group of birds known as fish eagles, generally found close to large bodies of water. Their diet is predominately made up of fish when it is available, but also includes birds, mammals, and a variety of other small animals. The official symbol of the United States, the Bald Eagle ranges from Canada to Mexico.

    Sort value: 01

  • 28976_88_88 Animalia > Spheniscidae

    Aptenodytes forsteri

    Emperor Penguin

    With around 100 feathers covering one square inch, Emperor Penguins have the highest feather density of any bird species. Separate shafts of downy filaments between feathers and skin form an extra layer of insulation. Muscles allow the feathers to be held erect on land, reducing heat loss by trapping a layer of air next to the skin.

    When their eggs begin to hatch, female Emperor Penguins return to feed of the hatchling. Males and females alternate brooding responsibilities with foraging trips up to 45 to 50 days after hatching. As the chicks grow, the frequency of foraging trips by both parents increases. The summer thawing of sea ice decreases the distance between open water and the colony during the Antarctic summer.

    Sort value: 02, 05

  • 88263_88_88 Animalia > Turdidae

    Sialia sialis

    Eastern Bluebird

    In many areas during the breeding season, this species is most easily located by looking for pole-mounted nest boxes in open areas: wherever these nest boxes are found, there are likely Eastern Bluebirds around. This species is primarily active during the day.

    Sort value: 03

  • 80066_88_88 Animalia > Paradisaeidae

    Paradisaea minor

    Lesser Bird of Paradise

    Bird-of-paradise males perform courtship displays in groups and will mate with many females. The females usually lay two pinkish eggs with dark markings in nests in trees. They mainly eat fruits and insects.

    Sort value: 04

  • 70022_88_88 Animalia > Balaenicipitidae

    Balaeniceps rex


    The Shoebill is one of the most impressive birds to be found in east-central Africa. An inhabitant of wetlands and swamps, this tall wading bird stands at 43 to 55 inches (109 to 140 cm)and has bluish-grey plumage, long black legs, broad wings and a muscular neck. But it is recognized by its powerful 'shoe-like' bill.

    Sort value: 06

  • 43992_88_88 Animalia > Phoenicopteridae

    Phoenicopterus ruber

    Greater Flamingo

    The Greater Flamingo feeds in large groups in a strategy of “safety by numbers” as they feed with their heads down. Big flocks can also create a lot of noise. When not feeding, flamingos flap their wings, preen themselves, or stand in beautiful postures.

    Sort value: 07

  • 83219_88_88 Animalia > Upupidae

    Upupa epops


    The Hoopoe is a territorial bird. The male calls frequently to advertise his ownership of his territory. They nest in a hole in a tree or wall, and a clutch usually consists of five or six eggs. The female seldom needs to leave the nest, as her mate zealously feeds her through the brooding period. Both sexes share in feeding the young.

    Sort value: 08

  • 37171_88_88 Animalia > Hominidae

    Pan paniscus


    Bonobos are highly intelligent, social animals. In the wild, they live in stable communities of up to 150 members; however, they usually split into smaller groups when foraging or traveling. A single offspring is born after gestating for eight months and will be cared for by its mother for almost five years.

    Sort value: 09

  • 83599_88_88 Animalia > Felidae

    Acinonyx jubatus


    At birth, cubs average 11.8 inches long (30 cm) and weigh 0.6 pounds (0.3 kg). They are grayish white in color, with black spots only on the lower body. A mantle of mane-like hair along their back camouflages the cubs in the grass. During the first few weeks of life the cubs are moved every few days by their mother to avoid predators.

    Sort value: 10

  • 46343_88_88 Animalia > Felidae

    Panthera leo


    Lions are the only truly social cats, with related adult females residing together in prides and joined by two to four adult males. Lions have the cognitive ability to recognize individuals and use tactile communication, along with vocalizations and facial expressions, to interact with other lions.

    Sort value: 11

  • 61030_88_88 Animalia > Boidae

    Python sebae

    Rock Python

    African rock pythons are non-venomous and kill their prey by constriction. After gripping the prey, the snake coils around it, tightening its coils every time the prey moves. African rock pythons feed on a variety of large rodents, monkeys, antelopes, fruit bats, monitor lizards and even crocodiles.

    Sort value: 12

  • 82640_88_88 Animalia > Giraffidae Gray, 1821

    Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

    Masai Giraffe

    The Masai Giraffe can be physically distinguished from other giraffe subspecies by its darker coloration and the shape of its irregular dark brown spots, which have distinctive frilly edges. Of all the subspecies, the Masai Giraffe has the largest population size, estimated at almost 40,000 in the wild.

    Sort value: 13

  • 93377_88_88 Animalia > Elephantidae

    Loxodonta africana

    African Bush Elephant

    The many folds in an elephant’s skin layers aid in the dispersion of body heat. A wet mud bath helps the elephant cool down instantly. Moisture trapped in its wrinkles continues to keep the elephant cool even after it leaves the bath. Mud also protects the elephant's skin from insects, sun, and moisture loss.

    The elephant’s trunk is important in drinking. Elephants suck water into the lower part of the trunk, then arch the truck and squirt water into the mouth. The only time in its life when an elephant feeds directly with its mouth is when suckling. The infant elephant presses its mouth directly against the breast and curls its trunk out of the way.

    Female elephants give birth every four to nine years. After a 22-month gestation period, a single elephant calf is born, weighing about 265 pounds (120 kg); twins are very rare. No other land animal takes as long to develop in utero. A short time after birth, they instinctively follow their mothers.

    Sort value: 15, 25, 33

  • 50346_88_88 Animalia > Crocodylidae

    Crocodylus niloticus

    Nile Crocodile

    Young Nile crocodiles usually feed on insects, small fishes, amphibians, and crustaceans. As they mature, their diet changes to include larger fishes, turtles, birds, and mammals.

    Sort value: 16

  • 35506_88_88 Animalia > Macropodidae

    Macropus rufus

    Red Kangaroo

    Red kangaroos are the largest mammals native to Australia, weighing about 200 pounds and standing nearly 6 feet. Their strong tails keep them balanced when jumping and act as a tripod with their two legs when at rest.

    Sort value: 17

  • 12451_88_88 Animalia > Trochilidae

    Ocreatus underwoodii

    Booted Racket-tail

    The Booted Racket-tail is a hummingbird found in the Andes from Colombia to Bolivia. Males of the species sport a long tail tipped with iridescent, blunt "rackets." Females lack the elaborate tail, but have a white chest.

    Sort value: 18

  • 57564_88_88 Animalia > Pyxicephalidae

    Pyxicephalus adspersus

    African Bullfrog

    During the mating season, male African bullfrogs gather in large groups. There they will fight push and bite their way toward the center. The largest males make it to the center and begin calling. The females answer the call by swimming underwater to avoid the smaller males and surface in the center area of a larger male.

    Sort value: 19

  • 25899_88_88 Animalia > Saturniidae

    Actias luna

    Luna Moth

    The luna moth is an easily distinguishable species in the family Saturniidae. Its wings are a soft, bright green with long, sweeping hind wing tails. Both sexes are similar in size, but males have feather-like antennae twice the width of female’s. The luna moth’s wingspan ranges from 3 to 4.5 inches (7 to 11 cm).

    Sort value: 20

  • 58995_88_88 Animalia > Falconidae

    Falco sparverius

    American Kestrel

    American Kestrels prefer open habitats and can be seen perched in a tree or on a utility pole, while watching for prey. Their diet consists of small animals, such as insects, birds, and rodents. American Kestrels are primarily active during the day, and can be observed pursuing and capturing prey with its talons.

    Sort value: 21

  • 02067_88_88 Animalia > Centrolenidae

    Centrolene prosoblepon

    Emerald Glass Frog

    Emerald glass frogs are delicate frogs with transparent skin. They measure up to an inch (2.5 cm) in size. These frogs are nocturnal and are frequently found on low vegetation near rivers and streams in lowland tropical forests, as well as cloud forests in the mountains.

    Sort value: 22

  • 62538_88_88 Animalia > Spheniscidae

    Aptenodytes patagonicus

    King Penguin

    The adult King Penguin has deep black feathers that cover the head, back, undersides of the flippers, and tail. The black plumage makes a startling contrast with the light-colored plumage elsewhere. The white belly becomes a pale yellow in the upper breast, and the ear patches are bright yellow.

    Sort value: 23

  • 38077_88_88 Animalia > Bovidae

    Bison bison

    American Bison

    In North America, the wild bison population once numbered in the tens of millions. Hunting gradually reduced the herds before the Civil War. After the war, they were pushed almost to extinction with westward expansion. Conservation efforts belatedly began in the 1880s, when only 541 animals were counted. Now there are nearly 500,000 animals, over 90 percent of these live on fenced private lands, managed for commercial purposes.

    Sort value: 31

  • 39450_88_88 Animalia > Spheniscidae

    Pygoscelis papua

    Gentoo Penguin

    Gentoo Penguins sport a bright orange bill and distinctive white patches above the eyes that distinguish them from other penguins. They have pale light pink feet and the most prominent tail of all penguins. As the Gentoo Penguin waddles along on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side.

    Sort value: 32

  • 15380_88_88 Animalia > Felidae

    Puma concolor


    Historically, the mountain lion’s range was the most extensive of any American terrestrial mammals. They could be found across North America, and from southern Argentina and Chile to southeastern Alaska. Extermination efforts, hunting, and habitat destruction have restricted their range to relatively mountainous, unpopulated areas.

    Sort value: 34

  • 13677_88_88 Animalia > Clionidae

    Clione limacina

    Sea Angel

    Sea Angels belong to a group of marine pteropods that lack shells. They live in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Pacific, and North Atlantic and are found from the ocean’s surface to 1642 feet (500 m) deep. They are about 3 inches (75-80 mm) long.

    Sort value: 35

  • 41090_88_88 Animalia > Cercopithecidae

    Macaca fuscata

    Japanese Macaque

    Japanese macaques live in the subtropical and subalpine forests of Japan. Harsh winters are inevitable across their range, and their thick fur allows them to stay active even in the coldest times of the year. They are the only primate, besides humans, that lives in such cold and snowy environments.

    Sort value: 36

  • 51109_88_88 Animalia > Ardeidae

    Ardea alba

    Great Egret

    The long, white breeding plumes, orange-yellow bill, and green facial skin of the Great Egret are stunning at the height of its breeding season. Even at other times of the year, when it loses its plumes and its face and bill return to their typical dull black, this 38-inch-long (81 cm), white wader is graceful and beautiful to behold.

    Sort value: 39

  • 88803_88_88 Animalia > Cervidae

    Rangifer tarandus


    These reindeer are only found in Svalbard, an archipelago midway between Norway and the North Pole. They feed on almost any vegetation they find, with few exceptions. They have relatively short legs. During the winter months, their coats grow thicker and longer, making them look even more short-legged and even a starved reindeer look healthy and fat.

    Sort value: 40

  • 71157_88_88 Animalia > Bovidae

    Rupicapra rupicapra


    Chamois live in in a variety of steep, mountainous habitats including alpine meadows, open rocky areas, mixed broadleaf woodland, and coniferous woodland. This species feeds on a wide variety of alpine plants and fungi.

    Sort value: 41

  • 47078_88_88 Animalia > Canidae

    Vulpes vulpes

    Red Fox

    Sort value: 42.2

  • 31998_88_88 Animalia > Cervidae

    Cervus elaphus


    Red deer mating season occurs between late September and November. During this time, mature males compete with each other. They size each other up through roaring contests and parallel walking. Evenly matched stags may then escalate by locking antlers, pushing each other, and trying to throw each other off-balance. These competitions can lead to serious injuries and death.

    Sort value: 43

  • 86037_88_88 Animalia > Testudinidae

    Chelonoidis nigra

    Galapagos Giant Tortoise

    In the wild, Galapágos giant tortoises can grow over 5.9 feet (1.8 m) long and weigh over 880 pounds (399 kg). They can live over 100 years. The animal's upper shell resembles a black, horny shield. The tortoise's feet look like stubby columns with no trace of webbing between their short toes.

    Sort value: 44

  • 00594_88_88 Animalia > Ursidae

    Ursus arctos

    Brown Bear

    Brown bears can be found in the northern parts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada, with the largest concentration east of the Ural Mountains in the Siberian forests. Brown bears have a wide-ranging diet, depending upon the season. They consume mosses, fungi, herbs, grasses, and fruits as well as insects, birds, and fish, especially salmon during their spawning run.

    Brown bears are solitary, powerful, sometimes aggressive predators. Excellent swimmers, they often feed on spawning salmon, but these omnivores eat anything nutritious. They have acute senses of hearing and smell, but poor eyesight.

    Sort value: 45, 60

  • 03025_88_88 Animalia > Erethizontidae

    Erethizon dorsatum

    North American Porcupine

    North American porcupines are distinguished by the quills that cover their backs from head to tail. They will climb trees and signal the presence of their sharp quills to deter predators. They can be found throughout North American from just south of the Arctic Circle to Mexico, and they live in a variety of habitats. They are forage for edible plants either alone or in small groups.

    Sort value: 46

  • 82823_88_88 Animalia > Manidae

    Manis crassicaudata

    Indian Pangolin

    The Indian pangolin adapts well to habitats that have been altered by human activities, provided the pangolins are not hunted and the termites and ants that are their primary food source remain abundant. Pangolins are generally solitary and nocturnal. They live in burrows often under large rocks, with the entrance to the burrow frequently hidden with dirt.

    Sort value: 47

  • 06809_88_88 Animalia > Asteriidae

    Pisaster ochraceus

    Ochre Sea Star

    The ochre star has a non-centralized nervous system like other echinoderms. They can sense light, contact, chemicals, and water currents from sensory cells in their skin. Ochre stars can be found in shallow waters and bays along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.

    Sort value: 48

  • 36585_88_88 Animalia > Ursidae

    Ursus maritimus

    Polar Bear

    Polar bears range long distances to hunt seals and other animals along the pack ice. They can fast for long periods of time if food is not available. Pregnant females dig maternity dens in the snow to give birth. Usually two cubs are born between November and January. By March or April, they follow their mother out of the den to learn to hunt. The cubs become independent when they are about two-and-a-half years old.

    Sort value: 49

  • 55936_88_88 Animalia > Cercopithecidae

    Macaca nigra

    Celebes Crested Macaque

    Crested macaques are threatened by over-hunting and habitat destruction. Their meat is considered a delicacy in Sulawesi. Human expansion for settlement and agriculture has diminished their habitat. Sulawesi is particularly sensitive to these worldwide problems. As an island, space is severely limited for the needs of wildlife and an expanding human population.

    Sort value: 50

  • 82788_88_88 Animalia > Pelecanidae

    Pelecanus crispus

    Dalmatian Pelican

    During their breeding season, Dalmatian Pelicans sport silvery-white plumage that contrasts sharply with the orange-red of the rubbery pouch beneath the bill, and the yellow skin around the eyes. Breeding begins in March, but varies geographically.

    Sort value: 51

  • 12175_88_88 Animalia > Hominidae

    Pan troglodytes


    Chimpanzees are an endangered species found predominantly in the forests and savanna woodlands of central Africa. They have a highly variable omnivorous. Fruit comprises about half the diet, but leaves, bark, and stems are also important. Small mammals, reptiles, and insects make up a small but significant component of the diet of many populations.

    Sort value: 52

  • 53196_88_88 Animalia > Carcharhiniformes


    Hammerhead Shark

    The hammerhead sharks are named for the unusual shape of their heads. They are found worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves. Unlike most sharks, hammerheads usually swim in schools.

    Sort value: 53

  • 27693_88_88 Animalia > Cheloniidae

    Chelonia mydas

    Green Turtle

    Green sea turtles can be found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Their body shape and paddle-shaped flippers make them excellent swimmers. They may swim more than 1,400 miles (2,253 km) from their feeding grounds to their nesting site. They return to the same sandy beach where they were born to build their nests and lay their eggs.

    Sort value: 54

  • 06590_88_88 Animalia > Proctonotidae


    Nudibranchs are quite diverse in their bright colorful markings and intricate forms. They are most diverse in tropical waters, but can be found almost anywhere from tidal pools to coral reefs. They are carnivores and use aband of curved teeth to scrape or tear food particles from other species, such as sea anemones, corals, sponges, and fish eggs.

    Sort value: 55

  • 96094_88_88 Animalia > Synanceiidae

    Synanceia verrucosa


    Stonefish are found on sandy areas of reef flats and shallow lagoons as well as in small pools during low tide. They are well camouflaged looking like just another rock. They are sometimes even covered with algae. Their dorsal fin has two grooves that serve as syringes of venom; their stings are excruciatingly painful and can occasionally be fatal.

    Sort value: 56

  • 02904_88_88 Animalia > Canidae

    Vulpes lagopus

    Arctic Fox

    The arctic fox is superbly adapted to the cold. Its dense, multi-layered coat is several inches thick during winter and provides excellent heat insulation. Like other foxes, arctic foxes tend to be solitary and mostly nocturnal. In the summer, they hunt fresh prey, such as lemmings, voles, and birds. Come winter, the arctic fox follows larger predators and scavenges carrion.

    Sort value: 59.1

  • 66162_88_88 Animalia > Anatidae

    Chen caerulescens

    Snow Goose

    Snow Geese breed in and around tundra lakes, ponds, and rivers on islands in arctic Canada, as well as in Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. They migrate south for the winter and congregate in large numbers on freshwater or saltwater wetlands, including marshes, estuaries, and bays.

    Sort value: 59.2