Heart-stopping show

Tim Laman's Image

Perched upright in its display tree, the male red bird-of-paradise dangles its two middle tail feathers alongside its body in a corkscrew shape.

When it tilts forwards the ribbons fall gracefully into a heart-shaped frame. To capture the pose, Tim built a tiny hide at the top of a 50-metre tree on Batanta Island, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia. Every morning he would climb the tree, ready for the male’s display to begin at sunrise.

Behind the lens

Tim Laman

Tim Laman


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.

Image details

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark II
  • 400mm f4 lens
  • 1/750 sec at f4  •   ISO 400
  • Batanta Island, West Papua
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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