Great grey owl, Finland
Picture: Danny Green / Rex Features
Birds, highly commended: ’Clowns im Schnee’, Werner Bollmann
Photograph by Nicole Duplaix
The male rhea, a large, flightless bird from South America related to the ostrich, has a bit of a wandering eye when it comes to mating. But no one could accuse him of being an absentee dad. Each mating season, male rheas build a nest and invite the members of their harem, up to 15 females, to deposit their eggs. The females then go off to look for other mates while the male stays to incubate the clutch, which can contain 25 to 50 eggs. For six weeks the father eats little and rarely leaves the nest. He then rears the hatchlings, defending them aggressively and charging any animal—even a female rhea—that approaches too closely.
Photograph by John Eastcott and Yva Momatiuk
There’s no getting around it: Male grizzly bears make bad dads. Male grizzlies take no part in the rearing of their offspring, which would be excusable if it weren’t for another trait: They will kill any grizzly bear cub they find within their range on the off chance that the baby is not their own. Theories abound, but scientists are at a loss to explain this infanticidal behavior.
So NO Happy Father’s Day to grizzlies.
Three well-placed reticulated giraffes graze on the savannah of Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve. Picture: Tony Murtagh/Solent News & Photo Agency
© R.Isotti, A.Cambone - Homo Ambiens / WWF-Canon
Night shot of a tawny owl in Normandy, by Fabrice Simon