BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine December 2019

BBC Wildlife Magazine is a celebration of the natural world, featuring all the latest discoveries, news and views on wildlife, conservation and environmental issues. With strong broadcasting links, authoritative journalism and award-winning photography, BBC Wildlife Magazine is essential reading for anyone with a passion for wildlife who wants to understand, experience and enjoy nature more.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 期号


in a winter wonderland

As with most parents, Christmastime finds me looking back to my own childhood. And it surprises me how many of my memories relate somehow to my love of nature. Decorating the Christmas cake, for example, and the magic moment of pulling out the box of decorations, tiny hunks of white icing stuck fast from last Christmas. It wasn’t just snowmen and chimneys that adorned the fresh royal icing, but that most festive of birds – the robin. But why is our red-breasted friend so associated with Christmas? That’s one of the questions we asked Stephen Moss to answer for us in our cover feature on page 54. And as we lay this issue to bed, I’m struck by other childhood memories. Chae Strathie’s feature on page 70 brings to mind my…

the people behind our stories

JODIE CRANE Helping to save a Critically Endangered bird in New Zealand is all in a day’s work for senior ranger Jodie. “Though kakapo conservation has come a long way, there are still massive challenges.” she says. See p28 NIKI RUST Environmental social scientist Niki takes a detailed look at this year’s fires in the Amazon rainforest. “The fires not only affected wildlife in the area but the indigenous peoples who live there,” she says. See p32 CHAE STRATHIE The importance of wildlife in literature aimed at younger readers is all too clear for award-winning children’s author Chae. “Along with cuddly toys and family pets, books are often a child’s first introduction to wildlife,” he says. See p70 MARK CARWARDINE Conservationist Mark explains the science behind uncovering little-known cetacean species. “In recent years, the new discoveries have…

in focus

Party animals As antelopes go, topis (here photographed on the Maasai Mara, Kenya) are probably the most gregarious of the bunch. They’re usually found in herds of up to 20, but will happily mingle with other antelopes and can even be spotted rubbing shoulders with zebras and ostriches. When not widening their social circles, topis spend most of their time grazing, using that beautifully slender muzzle to pick out the most tender new shoots. Lying colours Its dazzling hues may stand out in this image, but the red Irish lord – a fine figure of a fish – is in fact a master of camouflage, its finery is its weapon amid the colour-strewn shallows of the north-east Pacific. Like a chameleon, a lord can alter its attire to match its surroundings, glowing brightly…

wild month

1 | STARLING High and low We tend to forget that Britain is the source, as well as the destination, of invasive ‘alien’ species. Take the starling. As revealed by BBC Radio 4’s fascinating documentary Shakespeare’s Starling, in the 1890s a US society had the bright idea of introducing many European species of bird mentioned by the bard – with devastating consequences. Now there are more than 200 million starlings in North America, and they’re wreaking havoc. Back in the bird’s native range, however, we face the opposite problem – dwindling numbers. Starlings are on the Red List of species of conservation concern, due to steep declines in their breeding population. So the awe-inspiring aerial manoeuvres, or murmurations, that starlings perform before going to roost in winter are noticeably thinner on the ground…

mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Back in 1840, Joseph Strutt, whose family had accrued a fortune in textiles, decided to donate a 4.5ha plot of land in Derby for use as a public park. Designed by John Loudon, a leading horticulturalist of the day, Derby Arboretum became an instant hit as a haven from the smog for the citizens of what was, at the time, a heavily industrialised town. With entry to the park being free, this philanthropic model proved so popular that public parks quickly began springing up in other urban areas, and there are today around 27,000 dotted across the UK. Ranging enormously, from huge recreational areas with a plethora of facilities and amenities to small neighbourhood plots known only within the immediate community, parks must be considered among the most important green spaces…

species to look out for

Tawny owl Mottled reddish-brown and with a ring of dark feathers surrounding a paler face containing dark-coloured eyes, surely there is no mistaking the commonest of all British owls. Traditionally a woodland species, tawny owls have colonised any town and city centres with large parks, gardens and churchyards as they hold their territory through the winter months. Pied wagtail Our only pied bird with a long tail, which it constantly bobs, the pied wagtail is a familiar visitor to towns and cities during the winter months. On the constant search for invertebrates, males defend a winter territory before then gathering at favoured urban locations to communally roost for the night. Coot This dumpy slate-grey waterbird with a white bill and forehead is a common sight across any town and city park with a decent-sized pond…