How long should a man’s legs be? Long enough to touch the ground.J D Salinger
A bird’s legs too must touch the ground eventually, however much time they spend in the air. And that’s where I find it easier to photograph them. Plus, the longer the legs, the easier it tends to be to spot them too!
So when Denzil asked to see birds with long legs for this week’s Nature Photo Challenge, I found quite a selection in my archives to choose from. Many are from Africa where I’ve done the most wildlife photography. But South and Central America also feature, as does Europe.
Most, although not all, are in or near water. Long legs are ideal for waders as they can explore deeper waters in their search for food.
Whimbrel, Rio Nosara in Costa Rica
My feature photo is also of a Whimbrel, on the beach near Ngala Lodge in the Gambia
A Roseate Spoonbill by the same Rio Nosara in Costa Rica
Andean Flamingos in the Salar de Atacama, Chile
I have a whole gallery of photos of these beautiful birds here
Greater Flamingos near Faro, Portugal
Senegal Thick-knees on the Gambia River
Their name is a bit of a misnomer as we cannot see birds’ knees. What we see is the ankle. Their knees are much further up, hidden by their feathers. And below their ankles is their foot, so in fact birds stand on just their tiptoes.
A Western Reef Heron on a boat in the Gambia river
A Little Egret near Souimanga Lodge in the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal
Spur-winged Lapwings, also at Souimanga Lodge in Senegal
A striking White-crowned Lapwing in Chobe National Park, Botswana
Also in Chobe National Park, a pair of Yellow-billed Storks
My only example away from water, an Ostrich in Etosha National Park, Namibia
The ostrich uses its long legs not to wade but to run, sometimes even faster than many other birds can fly.
Demoiselle Cranes, Khichan, Rajasthan
The Jain population of this small village feed the migrating cranes , encouraging them to stop here in their thousands every winter
To finish with, a bird spotted a lot closer to home, an Avocet in Norfolk