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Bird Photographer of the Year 2022

Posted on Oct 26, 2022

Winners of the annual Bird Photographer of the Year competition have been announced – featuring a breath-taking rock ptarmigan taking a plunge

Header image © Achintya Murthy, India. Category: 9–13 years.
Nikon D500 with Nikon 300mm f/4 lens. Focal length 300mm; 1/2,500 second; f/7.1; ISO 1,250.

Photographers come from far and wide for this comp, entering a combined 20,000 images, each with their eyes fixed on the £5k grand prize. Conservation sits at the heart of the contest, donating over £5000to partner charity Birds on the Brink, which provides vital funding to grass-roots bird conservation projects around the world.

Of course, not everyone can win, and this year, the prize went to Photographer Erlend Haarberg from Norway. His image of a rock ptarmigan in winter plumage taking flight above the snow-capped mountains of Tysfjord in his native Norway captivated the judges.

“High up in the mountains, the wind, snow and cold maintain the iron grip of winter for many months on end. This is where Rock Ptarmigan thrive in an endless white landscape,” says Haarberg. “On this winter’s day, I was on my way to a mountain top. I had almost reached the summit when I spotted some ptarmigan tracks in the snow. Soon a bird took flight, with the dramatic backdrop showing what a harsh environment this bird calls home.”

BPOTY-overall-winner-2022-Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta. Tysfjord, Norway.
ROCK PTARMIGAN FLIGHT. Tysfjord, Norway. Erlend Haarberg, Norway. Category: Overall Winner and Birds in the Environment. Nikon D850 with Nikon 70–200mm f/2.8 lens. Focal length 95mm; 1/2,500 second; f/10; ISO 800.


Hailing from Switzerland, Levi Fitze took home the prize for the youth category with his image of a dunlin struggling against a sandstorm.

BPOTY-young-category-winner-Dunlin Calidris alpina. Heligoland, Germany.
FACING THE STORM. Heligoland, Germany. Levi Fitze, Switzerland. Category: 14–17 years. Sony A7R IV with Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM lens. Focal length 400mm; 1/1,250 second; f/2.8; ISO 125.

For more on the finalists and winners, go to the BPOTY website.

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