25 Striking Portraits Of Rare And Endangered Birds

by Damjan

Photographer Tim Flach Is best known for his stunning portraits, where he treats animals with the same care he would treat his human models. The famous photographer has captured both domesticated and wild animals, and he always managed to capture their essence, whether it was in their natural habitat or against a plain background.

His goal is to raise awareness about endangered bird species. So, meet Blue Tit, The Gouldian Finch, Northern Red Cardinal, and many other interesting and rare birds

Tim Flach adores animals; he owns three goldfish and two Burmese cats. He didn’t mention, though, how his cats and bird models are getting along.

1. The Himalayan Monal

"The Himalayan Monal is the national bird of Nepal."
1. The Himalayan Monal

2. Blue Tit

"Blue Tits are a common sight at bird tables in the U.K. Researchers found that the British put double the food in bird feeders than our European neighbours, which they believe is contributing to some bird species developing longer beaks."
2. Blue Tit

Working with so many animal models requires not just creative but managerial skills as well. The photographer spends a lot of time on his photoshoots. "It really depends on the kind of project I'm doing," he say.

"If I'm doing a commission, and say, I'm most likely to be photographing a domestic animal like a cat or dog, then I probably work through a wrangler or handler because at that point, everything needs to be confirmed with the agency and the client."
"But when I work on my own personal projects, it's often that I'm following a concept or an idea. And that animal then is to represent that," Flach explained. "Then the next question is, how do I access those animals?
Well, then, of course, I have to take the situation, case by case. For example, if I want to access an endangered Saiga that can only be found in some national park near the Caspian Sea in Russia, then, of course, I have to get my friend in Moscow to organize something with the national park to get some kind of permission and visa."

3. Inca Tern

"This for me, is the Salvador Dali of the bird world. When it comes to the length of the Peruvian Inca tern’s moustache, longer is healthier. A longer moustache indicates a stronger immune system and therefore a more attractive proposition for courtship."
3. Inca Tern

4. The Gouldian Finch

"The Gouldian finch from Australia for me is one of the most colourful of all finches. I was fortunate to have a model on the day that permitted me to come so close, sometimes times too close, as it decided to land on my head a number of times rather than to stay on his perch."

4. The Gouldian Finch

The next thing is having someone around who is familiar with these animals' behavior. On this particular project, Flach has help from a man who's like a producer and is an expert on birds, and even keeps birds at home.

Then Flach has to develop a different approach to every case. Some birds can't be put into an aviary in the studio, and sometimes he needs to get special permissions from the zoo, and so on.

"I have to present a kind of case for why I want to get that access to them. For example, at the moment, I'm trying to get access to a very rare fossil.
That fossil is unique, and I have to have a conference call with various people at the museum to convince them that it's worth me having access to such an extraordinarily rare and important fossil."

5. Silver Laced Polish Chicken

5. Silver Laced Polish Chicken

6. Northern Red Cardinal

"Northern red cardinals are adept songsters, with individuals being able to produce more than a dozen song variations. This particular cardinal had a fair bit of attitude, as though he could have flown straight out of Angry Birds."
6. Northern Red Cardinal

7. Major Mitchell

"The beautiful crest on the heads of cockatoos is one of the things that sets them apart from other parrots. However, they share the longevity of many members of the parrot family, and have a very similar life span to humans."
7. Major Mitchell

8. The Philippine Eagle

"I spend days travelling through the Mountains on the Philippine islands looking for this eagle, and in the end I photographed it at a rescue sanctuary. The Philippine Eagle has one of the largest wing spans of any eagle, at 2 metres, and is only found on the Philippine islands, where it is the national bird. IUCN: Critically Endangered"
8. The Philippine Eagle

9. Jacobin Pigeon

"The Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world, originating from India. Their arrival in Europe during the 16th Century is what sparked their evolution into the fashionable exhibition birds we see today."
9. Jacobin Pigeon

10. Longtail Broadbill

"This long-tailed broadbill can be found from the Himalayas to South East Asia. He reminds me of a fighter pilot - but a lot of you seem to think he looks like Elvis - with his helmet-like black cap and sleek blue patch on their crown."
10. Longtail Broadbill

11. Black Jacobin Pigeon

"The Jacobin received its European name because it’s hood of feathers resembles the garments worn by the Jacobin order of monks. For others it resembles a lady in feathery clothing."
11. Black Jacobin Pigeon

12. Victoria Crowned Pigeon

"The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is considered the largest of the living pigeon species, and can be found on mainland New Guinea. The only larger member of the pigeon family would have been the Dodo."
12. Victoria Crowned Pigeon

So naturally, each of Tim's photoshoots is different.

"I think the one thing as a photographer is that though you can have your kind of formulas and approaches to certain problem solving. When it comes to the animals, each can have different situations whether that means diving with hammerhead sharks, or tracking down polar bears in the Arctic, or penguins as I did in the Antarctic last Christmas. That's slightly different than my models in the studio."

Flach mostly photographs untrained animals.

"With a bird book, I might have over 100 birds, and yes, the parrots and the ones for shows, of course, they're quite trained, but for the vast majority of my animals, I'm there, literally perched behind a hideout with an 800mm lens, waiting for something just to turn in my direction."

13. The Toco Toucan

"The Toco Toucan’s bill is the largest relative to body size of any bird and it can be used to regulate heat distribution similar to elephants ears. While sleeping, heat loss can be reduced by placing their bill under their wing."
13. The Toco Toucan

14. Egyptian Vulture

14. Egyptian Vulture

The process is quite different and easier in the studio. Flach has a special birdcage that makes him virtually invisible to the birds. It even has a turntable.

"Often, the birds are happily perched on this, and it whizzes in circles, so I can get the exact angle I want. The opportunities where I can have control and how much control can vary enormously."

The photographer says there is a feeling of amazement in the uncertainty of photographing animals because you never really know what will happen in front of the lens. And that's why the portraits he creates are unique; he isn't pushing anything.

Flach allows his subjects to communicate and gives the audience space to imagine everything else.

15. Red Splash Jacobin Pigeon

"The Jacobin’s probably the most regal pigeon, having been kept by the likes of Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. It gets its name because of the hood of feathers enveloping it’s head."
15. Red Splash Jacobin Pigeon

16. Andean Cock Of The Rock

"During breeding male Cock-of-the-rock take part in “confrontation displays” which is rather like a dance battle with other males which gets more and more frenzied as the female approaches."
16. Andean Cock Of The Rock

17. The Grey Crowned Crane

"The Grey Crowned Crane, from Southern and Eastern Africa, has a reputation for being rather short tempered and can potentially take ones eye out with a single peck. When he started pecking at my camera and seemed intent to start on me, I didn’t hang around!"
17. The Grey Crowned Crane

18. Shoebill

18. Shoebill

19. The King Vulture

"The Mayans once believed that the King vulture was the messenger between gods and people. Contrary to the common association between vultures and deserts, the King vulture inhabits the dense forests found in South America up to Mexico!"
19. The King Vulture

20. Vultrurine Guineafowl Hen

"Vultrurine Guineafowl hens can lay up to 40 eggs per season - this might be one of the reasons that this bird is not a threatened species! They are found in the bushy half-deserts of Eastern Africa and spend most of their time running rather than flying."
20. Vultrurine Guineafowl Hen

21. Crested Miniature Duck

"This domestic duck is a Crested Miniature. Comb-like structures around the edge of their beak allow them to strain through the mud for food such as insects."
21. Crested Miniature Duck

22. The Nicobar Pigeon

"The Nicobar Pigeon is the closest living relative to the Dodo. They are a threatened species hunted for food and their gizzard stones are extracted for jewellery. They are a nomadic species moving from places like the Nicobar islands in India to other coastal regions in Southeast Asia."
22. The Nicobar Pigeon

23. Bearded Tit

"Bearded tits are the only British songbird to stay and breed in reed beds all year round. There are less than 600 breeding pairs of bearded tits found in Britain, most likely because they are limited by habitat, building their nests low down in the reeds. A group of bearded tits is called a ‘banditry’."
23. Bearded Tit

24. This Silver-Laced Rooster

"This Silver-Laced rooster has come to symbolise, in Polish literature and art, a country gentleman from medieval Poland. I took this photograph at the Federation Championship Poultry Show last week."
24. This Silver-Laced Rooster

25. Hooded Vulture

25. Hooded Vulture

Recommended