WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Winner 2018

Behaviours Birds

Thomas P Peschak, Germany / South Africa

Blood Thirsty

Working on a climate change story, Thomas had secured a rare permit to land on Wolf Island, a remote part of the Galápagos Islands. Scrambling over loose rocks to reach this plateau, he spied a bizarre scene – pecking away at the flight feathers of a Nazca booby was a sharp-beaked ground finch. With scarce food alternatives, it had resorted to drinking blood to survive.

Encircled by steep cliffs, with no permanent water and little rainfall, Wolf Island is a difficult place to live. While the boobies can fish in the ocean, the finches are limited to a scant supply of seeds and insects. To survive they drink the blood of the Nazca boobies – a behaviour that may have evolved from feeding on parasites in their feathers

Technical specification

Nikon D5 + 16–35mm f4 lens; 1/200 sec at f20; ISO 160; Profoto B1X 500 AirTTL flash


Wolf Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador: latitude 1.383574, longitude -91.81593 Wolf Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador: latitude 1.383574, longitude -91.81593

Wolf Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.



Love this image?

Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.

Top five favourites

Thomas P Peschak

Thomas P Peschak, Germany / South Africa

Thomas is an assignment photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He has written and photographed five books and won multiple Wildlife Photographer of the Year and World Press Photo awards. He is a speaker for the National Geographic Live series and in 2015 gave a TED talk titled Dive Into an Ocean Photographer's World.

  • Midnight feast
  • Death rays
  • Just jellyfish
  • Here come the snappers
  • Before the tide turned
  • Tree of life
  • Goblets of desire
  • Green haven
  • The night shift
  • The shark surfer
  • Crabzilla