The sensitive mover

Tim Laman's Image

Once the male twelve-wired bird-of-paradise has performed its first display to the right standard to persuade a female to approach, it switches to a new tactic.

It turns its back, twists the lower part of its body from left to right and brushes the female’s face repeatedly with its wire plumes. It’s hard to see this gesture in real time, but Tim managed to freeze the moment of contact, showing how displays comprise touch, colour, sound and movement.

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 IV
  • 600mm f4 lens
  • 1/180 sec at f5.6  •   ISO 1600
  • Nimbokrang, New Guinea
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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