Ruffs on display
Ondřej and his father travelled to the far north of Norway in summer, when there is 24-hour sunlight, to observe the ‘warlike behaviour’ of these courting male ruffs. ‘I was so excited that I could not sleep’, Ondřej recalls, so that night, while his father snored in the tent nearby, he snuck out into the midnight sunlight to capture this scuffle. Gathering in display areas known as leks, male ruffs will fight for females and defend their territories, leaping, strutting and puffing up the feathery collar they’re named for. Their status is revealed by the colour of their plumage. Those with dark head tufts hold territories at the lek, whereas the lighter-plumed satellite males don’t, instead loitering on the outskirts hoping for a chance to mate.
Nikon D800 + 300/2,8VR2 + TC20EIII; 1/500 sec at f/7.1 (-1ev); ISO 4000.
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Ondřej Pelánek, Czech Republic
Ondřej has been interested in nature since a young age, and often goes on trips with his father to take photographs and draw animals. He has participated in the Biology Olympiad for the past three years, and was awarded first place on each occasion.