What makes the best bird photo? Researchers are looking on Instagram for the answer


Two German researchers set out to answer the easy question: What makes a great bird photo? But to find the answer, they had to collect photos of more than 20,000 birds with their relevant data from the nine largest bird accounts on Instagram. The result was startling. They discovered that the most beloved bird figure on the photo-sharing platform was a nocturnal frog, once named the “world’s most unfortunate-looking bird” because of its unique facial features. In their study, Katza Thomas and Gregor Hein-Litchering, postdoctoral researchers at College Hospital Jena in Germany, said their research paper, published in Sage Journals, would provide some amazing insights for ornithologists.

With their database, the researchers examined 27,621 images from nine of the largest bird accounts. They found that the colors of a bird in a picture significantly affected the audience’s preferred behavior, which was more aesthetically appealing than the others. They used an method called ‘Image Aesthetic Appeal’ (IAA) to score the aesthetic appeal of photos based on ‘Likes’. The score was positive for films that got more ‘likes’ than expected, and negative for those who did the opposite.

Research data collected on Instagram accounts at களில்best_birds_planet, estbest_birds_of_world, utsnuts_about_birds, @birdfreaks, irbirdsonearth, estbestbirdshots, udaudubons Society, @bird_brilliance, and yourbirds_best


The study found that Instagram users were indifferent to photos of munias, bee eaters, pita and flamingos, and that the average IAA score was close to zero. On the downside, the most disliked bird photo was of Sandpiper with a score of minus 22.

The researchers also took into account their human color preferences – the preference for blue objects over those with yellow hues, as illustrated by environmental valence, is associated with good things like clear skies and clear water, while rotten food is often yellow.

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