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18 Amazing Images of Flocks of Birds in Flight

Themed Collections

01 November 2017

Posted by Maya Witters

Did you know that a flock of starlings in flight is called a murmuration? If you’ve ever seen one in action, you’ll know that the poetic term does justice to the mesmerising spectacle of the little birds drawing ever-changing patterns in the sky, as they fly back and forth by the thousands. Birds aren’t the only animals that flock together: many species of fish shoal together, and insects often swarm. There are various probable reasons for this sort of behaviour, although science hasn’t yet gotten to the bottom of the matter: it protects individual animals from predatory attacks, increases the success of foraging, and the collective movement might preserve energy. One thing we can be sure of is that it’s amazing to witness, and our photographers agree. We’ve collected some of their best shots for you.

A huge flock of birds fills the sky against a red sunrise over York.

A huge flock of birds fills the sky against a red sunrise over York. Read less

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Troy Snider

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Seagulls flock together above a lone fisherman near the island of Vir, Croatia.

Seagulls flock together above a lone fisherman near the island of Vir, Croatia. Read less

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Kazo

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Dozens of birds accompany this hot air balloon on its flight near Bristol.

Dozens of birds accompany this hot air balloon on its flight near Bristol. Read less

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Casper Farrell

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Birds take to the sky together on a misty morning in Kent.

Birds take to the sky together on a misty morning in Kent. Read less

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Paul Clark

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The day’s fishing haul is brought to land as curious seagulls overhead try to get their share.

The day’s fishing haul is brought to land as curious seagulls overhead try to get their share. Read less

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Ed Clarke

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A murmuration of starlings performs its evening dance over the pier of Aberystwyth.

A murmuration of starlings performs its evening dance over the pier of Aberystwyth. Read less

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Sean Langton

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Canadian geese start their migration south at the end of autumn.

Canadian geese start their migration south at the end of autumn. Read less

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P_HZ

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Hundreds of birds fly over a boat near Cape Town at sunset.

Hundreds of birds fly over a boat near Cape Town at sunset. Read less

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David Elwell

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It is thought that starlings group together at sunset to stay warm for the night, and to exchange information, like where to find good feeding spots.

It is thought that starlings group together at sunset to stay warm for the night, and to exchange information, like where to find good feeding spots. Read less

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Charlotte

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A group of birds flies off towards the sun in Portishead.

A group of birds flies off towards the sun in Portishead. Read less

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Alison Zak-Collins

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In some places, the number of starlings in a murmuration can grow as large as 100,000.

In some places, the number of starlings in a murmuration can grow as large as 100,000. Read less

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Sean Langton

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Pelicans form an aerodynamic line as they swoop over the waves.

Pelicans form an aerodynamic line as they swoop over the waves. Read less

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Jenna Puterbaugh

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Many migrating birds fly in V formation and carefully coordinate their flapping in order to catch the preceding bird’s updraft and conserve energy.

Many migrating birds fly in V formation and carefully coordinate their flapping in order to catch the preceding bird’s updraft and conserve energy. Read less

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Marcus Hennen

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Seagulls hope to share a bite of what this ship is catching near Istanbul.

Seagulls hope to share a bite of what this ship is catching near Istanbul. Read less

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Nguyen Trong Nhan

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A murmuration of starlings swoops over a hay field in Aberdeenshire.

A murmuration of starlings swoops over a hay field in Aberdeenshire. Read less

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Alan Bell

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Gateway of India, Mumbai, India. - The Gateway of India itself is a major tourist destination. It is a colonial architectural heritage constructed during the British colonial ru... Read more

Gateway of India, Mumbai, India. - The Gateway of India itself is a major tourist destination. It is a colonial architectural heritage constructed during the British colonial rule. The air was clear and cold and the sunlight was spreading from the Arabian Sea. At that instant, someone suddenly hit the metal guard rail with a ringing crash, and pigeons were frightened and took flight. Thanks to the anonymous hitter I was able to capture this magnificent moment. Read less

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Julie Mayfeng

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