WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011

Behaviour: Birds

Tim Laman, USA

The paper-clip suitor

Male bowerbirds are famous for collecting various random items to tempt a prospective mate with. Few, though, match the great bowerbird's eclectic taste. Living in northern Australia, the male accumulates artifacts as diverse as pebbles, snail shells, vertebrae, rifle shells, CDs and, in this instance, a pretty pink paper clip. Not only do the males use their stash to impress the females, but they will also boost their haul by stealing from each other. After enticing a female to enter his bower - a 'bivouac' of twigs - a male will choose one of his prized decorations and strut back and forth in front of the entrance, showing off to her. Tim photographed this bower in a surprisingly public place, the campus of James Cook University, Queensland, and got down low to get a bowerbird's perspective of the display. 'This,' he says, 'is the female's view from inside the bower, with the eager male, mid-strut, peering back at her.'

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D + 300mm f2.8 lens + 1.4x extender; 1/45 sec at f8; ISO 640; flash fill.


Cairns, Queensland, Australia: latitude -16.9203, longitude 145.771 Cairns, Queensland, Australia: latitude -16.9203, longitude 145.771

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

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Tim Laman, USA

Tim is a field biologist and wildlife photojournalist with a reputation for returning from the wild with shots of nearly impossible subjects. His pioneering research in the rainforest canopy led to a PhD from Harvard University and the first of many articles for National Geographic magazine. His work has garnered numerous awards, including many in Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

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