WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

Behaviour: Birds

Christian Ziegler, Germany

Father knows best

Christian had spent three months trailing cassowaries to gain their trust, with varying success. This territorial male had already chased him out of the forest three times. Returning to the same spot, he achieved this close, low-angle shot with a remote camera and flashes, revealing a tender moment between a male and its six-week-old chicks.

At nearly two metres tall, southern cassowaries have a fearsome reputation, and can deliver a nasty kick. But the males have a soft side, looking after their chicks for nine months and teaching them which fruits to eat. Vital dispersers of seeds, cassowary numbers are dwindling with the destruction and fragmentation of their rainforest home.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark II; 16–40mm f2.8 lens at 16mm; 1/40 sec at f8; ISO 640; three Canon flashes; remote release.


Innisfail, Queensland, Australia: latitude -17.52224, longitude 146.02563 Innisfail, Queensland, Australia: latitude -17.52224, longitude 146.02563

Innisfail, Queensland, Australia

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Christian Ziegler

Christian Ziegler, Germany

Christian is a photojournalist specialising in topics related to natural history and science. A tropical ecologist by training, he has spent the past 12 years as an associate in communication with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He is a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

  • Sweet intimacy