Air guitar-playing kangaroo wins Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Shot from down under comes up top in annual contest, beating 5,300 pictures

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A kangaroo playing air guitar is the winner of this year's Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

“Air Guitar Roo”, shot by Jason Moore, captures the moment the animal seemingly plays in an open wildflower field in Perth. It was taken in August 2021.

The photograph beat 5,300 others by 1,842 entrants from 85 countries. It also won the Creatures of the Land category.

Describing how he took the picture, Moore says he had been out since sunrise hoping to photograph waterfowl at a lake, but had a disappointing morning.

“When I arrived, there were a number of kangaroos in the field," he adds. "The morning light was still favourable so I grabbed my camera and headed off to a spot where I could get down to eye level with my subjects, amongst the biting ticks – the lengths we go to just to get that perfect image.

"I ended up shooting about 40 or 50 frames of the kangaroos with various content including mums, joeys and also some action shots of them bouncing along through the yellow field."

He adds: “The shoot turned out to be a great session, and I am quite fond of several images that I captured. Not many people know that kangaroos are normally fairly docile and even a bit boring most of the time. However, when I saw this roo striking the air guitar pose, it immediately brought a smile to my face, and I knew that I had captured something really special."

In addition to Moore's winning shot, there are also six other category winners. Jacek Stankiewicz's photograph of two greenfinches won the Junior Award as well as the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by the public. It's the first time the award has been won by a junior entrant.

Vittorio Ricci won the Creatures of the Air Award for a photo of a striated heron falling out of the sky and into the water, while Otter Kwek topped the Under Water award with a shot of an otter looking like a ballerina in Singapore.

Timea Ambrus won the Portfolio Award with a collection of four images that show a ground squirrel looking like he’s trying to fly. The Video Award went to Lily Bernau for her film about a penguin seemingly refusing to go into the sea.

In addition to the category winners, 10 entries were highly commended.

The awards were founded in 2015 to celebrate the lighter side of wildlife photography while also promoting conservation.

Each year, the competition supports a sustainable conservation organisation. This year, the Whitley Fund for Nature is back. The UK charity supports conservation leaders working in countries across the Global South. Now in its 30th year, it has helped raise £20 million for more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.

Updated: November 23, 2023, 12:01 AM