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Swallow-tailed gulls on Genovesa
03/08/2023 News

Swallow-tailed gulls swoop to victory in 2023 Galapagos Photography Competition

One of the Galapagos Archipelago’s less celebrated species, the swallow-tailed gull, dominated the winning entries to our 2023 photography competition, featuring in all three of the top-rated images.

Tom O'Hara

Communications Manager

The overall winner this year was Claire Waring from the UK, with her dramatic shot of a swallow-tailed gull and a juvenile great frigatebird mid-fight. Frigatebirds exhibit a behaviour known as kleptoparasitism, harassing other seabirds and forcing them to regurgitate their recently caught food by grabbing their tail feathers and shaking them, then catching the regurgitated food before it enters the sea. 

The competition judges were impressed by the clarity and definition of this difficult shot to pull off, with BBC wildlife producer and director Jo Haley describing it as “full of energy and action”, while Galapagos naturalist guide Water Perez commented that the image “shows that paradise can turn into hell”. 

Great frigatebird attacking swallow-tailed gull
'Aerial Attacker' © Claire Waring - Overall Winner and 1st Place: Animals in Action

This is an interesting interaction with gorgeous light and shadows, plus a difficult one to get sharp. Full of energy and action.

Jo Haley, BBC wildlife producer and director

Second place in the competition overall was awarded to Martín Narváez’s image of a swallow-tailed gull tenderly sheltering her chick under one wing, while third place went to Tim Karels for his remarkable close-up shot of a swallow-tailed gull. 

Swallow-tailed gull, South Plaza island
'Motherly Love' © Martín Narváez - 2nd Place Overall & 1st Place: Birds of Galapagos

This year’s judges were award-winning writer, TV presenter and wildlife photographer, Mark Carwardine; Blue Planet III producer and director,Jo Haley; Galapagos naturalist guide and professional photographer,Walter Perez; andmanaging director of competition sponsor Mundy Adventures,Edwina Lonsdale. 

The categories this year were Animals in Action; Birds of Galapagos; Coastal and Marine; Landscape; Up Close and Personal; and Urban Life. There were over 400 photographs entered this year from nearly 20 different countries, and a selection of the best images will feature in GCT’s 2024 calendar.

Swallow-tailed gull, Genovesa
'Swallow-tailed gull' © Tim Karels - 3rd Place Overall & 1st Place: Up Close & Personal

You can see the full collection of category winners and runners-up below. The 2024 Galapagos Photography Competition will open in autumn 2023. 

Green turtle, Isabela

Public Choice vote

Our judging panel have had their say, but now it’s your turn to choose your favourite image from our 2023 Galapagos Photography Competition!

Vote now

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