Birds are fascinating creatures, both when they’re in full flight or on land, and do make some stunning subjects for photographs. And that’s precisely why competitions like the Bird Photographer of the Year exist — to celebrate their beauty and their unique behaviours.

This image of a young Kingfisher was taken in the United Kingdom by photographer Ben Andrew, and won second prize in the Best Portrait category. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Ben Andrew

Now in its fourth year, the Bird Photographer of the Year competition has just announced the winners of its 2019 edition. The winning photographs, divided into seven categories plus three “extra” categories including the two grand prizes, were carefully selected from over 13,000 entries, coming from 63 countries all over the world.

These cobalt-winged Parakeets were photographed in Ecuador by photographer Liron Gertsman with a slow shutter speed to capture the moment they're taking flight. The image won third place in the Birds in Flight category. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Liron Gertsman

Out of all those images, the grand prize went to a shot titled “Dancing on Ice” depicting a Dalmatian Pelican on the frozen Lake Kerkini, in Greece. The photo’s author, Caron Steele from the United Kingdom, won the top prize of £5000 and the title of Bird Photographer of the Year 2019. “[This] is an image that had me leaping from my chair with joy the moment I saw it,” commented Director and Competition Organiser Rob Read. “Lake Kerkini rarely freezes over and Caron certainly made the most of this virtually unique opportunity”.

"Dancing on Ice" won the grand prize of this year's competition. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Caron Steele

The title of Young Bird Photographer of the Year for 2019 went on the other hand to Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz from Hungary for his shot of a group of Mallards titled “The Cradle of Life”, taken with the use of a drone.

The Young Bird Photographer of the Year winning image was taken during wintertime in Hungary's soda lakes, which are full of a great variety of water birds. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz

The other seven categories include Bird in the Environment, Attention to Detail, Bird Behaviour, Birds in Flight, Garden and Urban Birds and Creative Imagery, as well as the award for the Best Portfolio— a prize that rewards “consistency of skill” and for which a photographer must submit a series of six shots to be scored by the competition’s judges.

This picture, clicked by Yashodhan Bhatia, is in the Honourable Mentions of the Garden and Urban Birds category, and it depicts rosy starlings in Jamnagar in India. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Yashodhan Bhatia

The award for the best Inspirational Encounter was also assigned — it recipient is Martin Grace from the United Kingdom, who submitted a stunning shot of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica.

"Emperor. Penguin. Individually words of little distinction, but together an icon of near-mythical proportion," says photographer Martin Grace describing his photo. Photo courtesy of Bird Photographer of the Year/Martin Grace

If you’d like to know more about the competition, you can check out its official website here.

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