Nature inFocus Hive was launched in November 2017. In these four years, the space has been earnestly nurtured by our burgeoning community of talented photographers. From surprising animal behaviour to photographs that highlight conservation issues and success stories—Hive has become a significant repository of images and useful information on the Indian wilderness. We are truly grateful for these contributions, and we hope to see the space grow and evolve even more.
As the year draws to a close, we combed through our database from last year to generate a list of our favourite Hive images from 2021, in no specific order.
Has your favourite Hive image made it to our list? Let us know in the comments.
Shivamogga, Karnataka The most widespread land bird species in the world, the Barn Owl is usually spotted in abandoned buildings, chimneys and in tree holes. Urban landscapes provide refuge to a range of animals and birds and also aid in habitat connectivity. Falna, Rajasthan Nocturnal animals, bats often roost in caves and even old buildings. Did you know that in many parts of south India, old temple complexes are home to large colonies of bats? But with the increase in the use of electric light bulbs, bat populations in these buildings are rapidly decreasing. Neral, Maharashtra Did you know that once they develop from the nymph stage into adults, mayflies live only for one day? With only a day to attract a mate and breed, they engage in a courtship display that involves light and synchronous flying. A visual treat, indeed! Kumily, Kerala It is not a common occurrence among dancing frogs (Genus Micrixalus), where the female leaves her eggs exposed in water. Usually, after the breeding pair mates, the female lays eggs in the streambed and covers it with gravel and mud to protect them from predators. But here, the female was seen sitting idly beside her eggs. Kota, Rajasthan A busy congregation of baby Gharials on the banks of the Chambal River. Among Gharials, females lay anywhere between 30 and 50 eggs in nests built by creating holes within sandbanks. While other crocodile species are known to carry their hatchlings in their mouth, Gharials have been observed carrying the hatchlings on their backs to ensure the safe passage of their young ones. Garbhanga Reserve Forest, Assam Now that’s a mouthful! The Wall's Bronzeback snake is mainly found in northeast India. It is also seen in the Andaman Islands. Although designated as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, conversion of forest land for agricultural purposes is a concern for local populations. Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat Usually found on high perches, Peregrine Falcons are known for their deep dives and quick aerial captures. Did you know that their high-speed dives can achieve a speed of 200 mph? A salt-loaded lorry in the backdrop shows another constant sight from the region where salt panning is a vital activity that supports several local communities. Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat The photographer was observing the Desert Fox when an Eastern Imperial Eagle swooped in from nowhere and tried to grab the canid. The fox, though, was agile and quick and managed to outrun the raptor. Kolkata, West Bengal Medium-sized raptors, Marsh Harriers are usually found near marshlands and reedbeds. They prey on small birds, insects and snakes. Here, the bird is seen swooping in on a flock of Common Pochards. Rourkela, Odisha The Greater Indian Fruit Bat or the Indian Flying Fox is found throughout the subcontinent. As the name suggests, they are frugivores and also consume nectar from flowers. They skim the surface of water bodies to collect droplets on their fur. When perched on a tree, they lick their fur to hydrate themselves. Kerkini Lake National Park, Greece Largest in the pelican family, Dalmatian Pelicans are known to have a wingspan of 8 to 11 feet. Notice the reddish-orange lower mandible? Dalmatian Pelicans exhibit brightly coloured lower mandibles and pouches during the breeding season. The rest of the time, their bills are a dull yellow in colour. Arnala, Maharashtra Small migratory birds, plovers travel over 11,000 kilometres, wintering in the coastal regions of India. But as seen in the image, their habitats are becoming increasingly polluted with plastic waste and other debris. Pollution of coastal areas affects both native species and migratory visitors, making it crucial to follow proper garbage disposal practices. Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal Mud-puddling is a commonly observed behaviour among butterflies. They congregate near wet mud, carrion, dung or the urine of mammals to suck fluids containing salts and amino acids. This plays a vital role in their physiology. Kolkata, West Bengal Epeus sp. spiders belong to the jumping spider family. Female spiders build nests when they are ready to lay eggs. The nests have two layers, of which the outer layer is composed of tough silk fibres that are woven closely for protection. Thrissur, Kerala Crane flies belong to the Tipulidae family, which is one of the largest groups of flies. They are identified by their mosquito-like features, long antennae and elongated, slender legs—all of which are seen in this synchronous display as they hang from a thread of silk. The lifespan of an adult crane fly is about 10-15 days. Bronzeback Of The Nilgiris— Sandeep Das Ooty, Tamil Nadu Also known as the Western Ghats Bronzeback, the Bronze-headed Vine Snake is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills in the Western Ghats. The species can be identified by its pointed snout. The snake is found in montane grasslands, and frogs and lizards form a large part of its diet. Badlapur, Maharashtra The Zombie Ant Fungus (Ophiocordyceps) is a rare fungus that attacks ants. When a spore of this fungus lands on the host ant, it starts affecting the ant’s brain. The fungus spreads inside the body and produces a cocktail of chemicals that manipulate the behavioural patterns of the ant. The ant then walks towards the underside of a leaf where there is perfect light and humidity for the fungus to grow. There, the ant latches itself to the leaf and the fungus eventually kills the ant while continuing to grow through it. The Great Congregation— Aravind Ram Anamalai Hills, Tamil Nadu Great Indian Hornbills or Great Pied Hornbills prefer tall, old trees as nesting sites. They are also known to return to the same nesting sites. Loss of forest area is one of the biggest threats to their population. Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand Encapsulated in a world of blue, a lone Plumbeous Water Redstart is seen in its most preferred habitat—a stream or river that will give the bird an endless supply of flies. Although hard to make out from the image, male redstarts are blue in colour with a red tail while females are grey with a white and black tail.