Black cat sitting in a patch of grass
Nature and wildlife,  Nature Photo Challenge,  Themed galleries

Gallery: the queen of all colours

Animals like crows and black cats are not ominous at all; it is the men’s superstitious mind which is the inauspicious one

Mehmet Murat Ildan, playwright

While many people think that black cats bring bad luck, for some reason as a child I was always taught the opposite. If a black cat crossed my path it would bring good luck. So sure of this was I that I would sometimes alter my route to try to ensure that the cat’s trajectory and my own would definitely intersect!

Perhaps Groucho Marx has the right idea on this topic?

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere

Groucho Marx

But is black even a colour?

Some will argue that black is not a colour but rather the absence of colour. However most artists would disagree, including Renoir:

I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colours was black

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

And if I may be permitted one more ‘black’ quote,

Any colour – so long as it’s black

Henry Ford

While Henry Ford was talking about cars his words might be echoed this week by Denzil, who challenges us to share examples of the colour black in nature. He asks, ‘Could this be the most challenging Nature Photo Challenge yet?’ I guess I’m out to prove him wrong by coming up with a good variety of black animals and birds. OK some of these may look very dark brown or grey but I reckon they’re close enough to count. I hope Denzil agrees! And while there may be the odd flash of colour I believe all of them fit his rule of ‘more than two-thirds black’.

Black iguana on rocks

Marine Iguana, North Seymour, Galápagos Islands

Black cattle with large horns and bird on its head

Wild bison and ox-pecker, Periyar, Kerala

Head and shoulders of a gorilla in profile

Gorilla, Jersey Zoo

Nilgiri Langur, Periyar, Kerala

Black monkey with lighter ruff and long tail sitting on a dead branch

Black bear in long grass

Black bear, Vancouver Island

[scanned from an old slide]

Black bird with long tail on a branch above white shells

Piapiac by oyster shell pile, Kubuneh, Gambia

Crow, Lammas Enclosure, Ealing

Black bird on a fallen log

Black bird on the ground

Another crow, this one in Bushey Park, west London

Two black birds on a plank of wood

Young jackdaws, Studley Royal, Yorkshire

[shared several times before and wrongly identified as crows until Margaret helpfully corrected me!]

Black swan in a lake

Black Swan, Pashley Manor, East Sussex

Duck with red beak and fluffy duckling among reeds

Moorhen and chick, Walpole Park, Ealing

Large slim black bird on rocky crag

Shag, Inner Farne, Northumberland

[note the green tag; birds here are monitored and protected]

Bird on a log over water with wings outspread, seen from behind

Anhinga drying its wings, Caño Negro, Costa Rica

Black bird with flash of red eating fruit

Scarlet-rumped tanager, Aguila de Osa, Costa Rica

Long-legged black bird in long grass

Black Egret, Chobe National Park, Botswana


  • Georgina

    A wonderful array of beautiful blacks! I left out my childhood cat, Blackie, yes a lucky lovely friend to me at night purring on my bed! And we had a black labrador retriever cross, guide dog stock but she failed the test. And of course reading Black Beauty! Horses can be called black but not white. Your travels certainly take you to such varied places and great stack of photos.

  • Anita

    Oh.. what amazing photos!! And all animals are more or less black. The Wild bison is impressive and I love the photo of the Black Swan. A great collection!

    I visited the Galapagos Islands in the early 90’s but then I didn’t even own a camera!!! My husband photographed but I myself was not interested!!!??? Today, I have a hard time understanding how I was thinking, but I have many fond memories. We were also in Costa Rica and many other places. No, I don’t even want to think about it 🤨 Traveling without a camera 😟🙃

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Anita 😊 I’ve had a camera of sorts since I was ten and I can’t ever imagine travelling without one! And my husband has been keen since about the time we first got together and he caught the bug from me! Of course the photos from our earlier travels are much fewer, as film was so expensive, but we have some from every trip we made together and I have them from childhood and teenage holidays too 😀 Today I not only take my main camera on our major trips but also a point and shoot as back-up, plus of course these days the phone makes an OK back-up too.

  • wetanddustyroads

    I actually never thought about how beautiful animals can look when they’re black! The black swan is amazing. And no list will be complete if there is not a gorilla and bear 🙂. Well done Sarah!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Kellye 😀 The bison was pure luck – there was quite a large herd of them at a distance (we were on a guided wildlife walk) and I used my zoom lens to get some photos. I took a fair number and just lucked out as this one looked straight at me at the right time. I don’t think I even noticed the bird on his head at the time!

  • the eternal traveller

    It’s interesting that you saw a black swan in UK. They are native to Australia but when we went to the swannery at Abbotsbury, which is home to hundreds of mute swans there was one black swan. The guide told us it had appeared one day and they didn’t know where it had come from. They were being very careful to make sure it didn’t mate with any of the mute swans.

  • Rose

    Gorgeous and interesting black wildlife photos! The black swan stole my heart. And how endearing to hear that someone else thinks black cats on our path is a good thing. Also, I have to agree with Henry Ford – my old Ford Mustang is black and I love it that way.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Jo 😊 As I said to Siobhan below – I think the jackdaws were most interested in the possibility of crumbs dropped from our lunchtime sandwiches!


    Not last night but the night before, two black cats came knocking at my door… My Mum used to recite that poem to me as a child! Don’t you love that glossy sheen that truly black feathers carry, that’s when you really do appreciate that black is a colour.

  • margaret21

    Some very dashing creatures here, including sightings I’d love to have had but didn’t – such as a bear on Vancouver Island, and a langur in Kerala. Never mind, I do see jackdaws at Studley Royal all the time: thanks for the acknowledgement – you really didn’t have to! By the way, I was brought up to find black cats lucky too.

  • tobyo

    Oh my, fabulous images! I think I like the black swan the best. I don’t think I’ve ever seen even a photo of a black swan. Well done! Loved the black cat story too. I’ve had many black cats and I too included one in my entry. I agree with you that they are good luck as all my black cats have been wonderful.

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