Red Kangaroos (female & male) at Mungo National Park (photo: Martin Maderthaner)
Read time: 6 minutes
Help us choose the BEST kangaroo image. Last year we asked you to help us decide the best 3 images out of 13 images of kangaroos. You have whittled the images down to 3. Now we need your help to choose the BEST kangaroo photo. Find out how to do that at the end of this story…
Background to our search for the best kangaroo photo
Last year we selected 13 images of kangaroos and asked you to choose the best 3 images. We hoped we’d be able to give you an answer on your choices by the middle of 2023 but there have been so many entries that we kept the selection process open.
It’s been fascinating going through your selections. We all have different ways of seeing the world and its amazing wildlife.
For instance, this highly evocative image we called “Alone” gained the highest number of individual votes but they were ALL 3rd preferences and had to be divided into three in the cut which put that photo into 4th place.
And we thought this “Motherhood” photo would rate highly but it came in second last!
The featured image at the head of this story was taken after the original survey was compiled. It’s NOT one of the choices for Best photo but it’s a great shot from our Mungo Outback Journey by our senior guide, Martin Maderthaner
The final cut – these were your top 3 choices
The love is in air photo by Michael Williams is a magical piece taken at Mungo National Park into the sun, possibly the most difficult of all photographic angles. But Michael nailed it. (NB. we’ve replaced the original website photo with a crop of the original as the website pic is a little difficult to see on small screens).
Tour: Mungo Outback Journey
Janine Duffy snapped the photo as a big male ‘roo poked his head out from behind a bush. The intense focus of his eyes and ears betrays the fact that he is deciding whether to stay or leave. I love it because it shows the intelligence of kangaroos.
Tour: Wildlife Journey
Finally, there’s no doubt that this is a remarkable photo. Taken many years ago by Echidna Walkabout guest, Jeroen Wolfslag, and kindly given to us, it has stood the test of time. The strength, movement and relaxed power of the kangaroo, moving at full speed, takes your breath away.
Tour: Coast, Mountains, Forest
Now it’s up to you to choose the best kangaroo image
We’ve left the original notes with each image so you can gain a better appreciation of what they all represent.
3 Unique Kangaroo Images : choose which is BEST
Red kangaroos, Mungo National Park
Courtship: how do you pick the difference between female & male kangaroos….?
This courtship portrait of a male Red kangaroo (left) and female shows the remarkable difference in both size and colour between the genders in the Red kangaroo.
Males are generally a bright rusty colour and the females are usually light grey yet they are the same species! Believe it or not, females are sometimes red and males can be grey.
Mungo National Park is my favourite place to watch kangaroos, it never fails to produce boundless opportunities to see both Red and Western-grey kangaroos. In wet years we sometimes see Eastern-greys!
Unlike Western-greys, Red kangaroos are cautious of humans and will move away fast at the slightest provocation. This pair stayed close to us for about 5 minutes allowing a series of magnificent back-lit photos that we’ve used a number of times.
Image: Michael Williams.
(Sadly Wildlife Guide and photographer, Michael Williams, passed away not long after this image was taken. You can see more of his images in this article and elsewhere on our website. Michael kindly donated this and many other great photos to Echidna Walkabout)
Where: Mungo National Park
Tour: Mungo Outback Journey
Wary: will I go or stay……?
Magnificent male Eastern-grey kangaroo peering inquisitively out of the bushes. Caution and curiosity are present in its eyes and stance.
Eastern-greys are the tallest of our kangaroos, an embodiment of power and strength. Condensed testosterone emanates from them — you can smell it sometimes.
But with all that “maleness” these guys can be surprisingly timid and will bound off at the slightest hint of movement in their direction. That’s what this fellow is assessing: will I go or stay.
Image: Janine Duffy, Echidna Walkabout
Where: Western Plains near Melbourne
Tour: Wildlife Journey
Balance : how do kangaroos conserve energy….?
Kangaroos encapsulate poise, power, grace and speed but most of all, balance……
Balance, or rather counter-balance, resides in the spring-loaded tail. Hidden deep in the pelvis short, powerful ligaments hold the heavy tail in place. At each hop these ligaments gain, then release, enormous amounts of energy.
This is the secret of the macropods that enables them to move at surprisingly high speeds using very little energy.
Here’s how it works.
In our image (above) the heavy tail has begun to move downwards and the feet are returning to earth. As soon as that happens the massive achilles tendons (in the legs) will pre load with energy caused by the fall and the tail ligaments will reach maximum tension causing the tail to spring upwards.
It’s the combination of these two actions that raises the kangaroo into the next hop, all in one fluid motion.
What makes a kangaroo’s hop so successful is this fact: the tail never hits the ground. By doing this kangaroos retain most of the kinetic energy of the previous hop for movement. Their tail is the counter balance that lifts them back into the air!
While all this is going on the kangaroo’s lungs will fill with air, pumped in by the simple movement of the hop. In one bound some kangaroos can cover up to 8 metres (24 feet) and keep doing it whilst breathing effortlessly.
A horse galloping at the same speed as this kangaroo would use up to four times more energy.
Image: Jeroen Wolfslag, Echidna Walkabout guest
Where: Western Plains near Melbourne, Victoria
select your bEST image here
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Echidna Walkabout retains ownership of the photos in trust — they have been kindly given to us to use by our guests or staff. We ask that you respect this trust. You shall not reproduce these images without our permission. Email us at email@example.com if you would like to use any image.
These images really belong to the kangaroo family, to a macropod lineage that stretches back over a staggering 15 to 20 million years.
Echidna Walkabout is a Founding Member of Australian Wildlife Journeys.
We also create, guide and operate tours for Australian Geographic Travel