A SCOTTISH photographer has scooped up a prestigious international prize.

Alan Jones beat more than 1700 others to win the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers Bird Photographer of the Year.

He came out top with a shot of a red-billed oxpecker perched on a buffalo’s nose as it drank.

Jones, a 69-year-old retired chartered accountant from Edinburgh, said: “The image was taken at Zimanga reserve in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region of South Africa, which is in the Eastern Cape.

“The reserve has some amazing hides which allow you to collect images at water-hole level.

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“This image was taken about 6am in late September so the light level was still pretty low.

“Oxpeckers feed exclusively on the bodies of large mammals. It seems the jury is still out on whether they do the animal more harm than good.

“The buffalo appears to tolerate oxpeckers while other species will not.’’

The runner-up was Kevin Nash from Cheshire who photographed a white-tailed sea eagle with the mountains of Scotland in the background, taken on Loch Na Keal during a trip to Mull.

Amateur photographer Nash said: “Myself and a group of fellow photographers chartered a boat to take us out onto Loch Na Keal off the beautiful Isle of Mull, Scotland.

“The white-tailed sea eagle is the UKs largest bird of prey.”

Other prize-winning snaps included a heron tussling with a weasel, a baby penguin waddling in the Antarctic and a kite and a buzzard coming to blows over a dead pheasant.