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Series / Earthflight

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Earthflight is a BBC One six-part documentary that aired from late 2011 to early 2012. It uses various innovative techniques, such as cameras strapped to the backs of birds and filming from aircraft, to capture spectacular footage of flying birds from around the world, with each episode focusing on birds from a different continent (except for the last episode, which discusses the methods used to create the show). It is narrated by David Tennant.

This work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • Played straight by the polar bear in the third episode.
    • Subverted by the grizzly bears in the first episode, which the bald eagles use to provide them with salmon, and the brown bears in the third episode that are just there to feed on scraps left over by an osprey.
  • Bigger Is Better: Andean condors easily displace other scavenging birds at carcasses.
  • Butt-Monkey: The flamingoes in the second episode can't catch a break. No matter which lake they fly to they are constantly at risk from fish eagles, hyenas, and baboons.
  • The Cavalry: Though unintentional on their part, in both the third and fifth episodes mobbing crows save other birds from birds of prey.
  • Creepy Crows: Crows are shown mobbing certain birds of prey.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Budgerigars can dodge falcons in flight, to the point that they can even break off to take a quick drink while fleeing.
    • A young, weakened snow goose manages to fend off a bald eagle long enough to escape from it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The flamingos.
  • Enemy Mine: Lions may catch an unwary vulture when there is nothing else to eat, but both follow one another to locate carcasses.
  • Friendly Enemy: Foxes and sea eagles are normally predators of Japanese cranes, but due to handouts of food given by humans they tend to be well fed and all coexist more or less peacefully with one another.
  • Giant Flyer: Many of the birds shown are quite large, but the Andean condors take the cake.
  • Groin Attack: Male guanacos do this when they fight among themselves.
  • Killer Rabbit: Japanese cranes can defend themselves from sea eagles.
    • Foxes are implied to be a threat to said cranes as well as Andean condors, both very large birds.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The speed attacks of peregrine and lanner falcons allow them to take down much larger birds such as cranes.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The crocodiles in the wildebeest migration sequence (as usual). They pose less of a direct threat to the scavenging birds, but they do compete with them for carcasses. The caimans in the fourth episode aren't shown threatening the birds they feed alongside either.
  • Properly Paranoid: The reluctance of the scarlet macaws to land on the ground in the fourth episode proves to be well founded due to the presence of predators.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Swans A-Swimming: Whooper swans are featured in the fifth episode.
  • Zerg Rush: Crows do this against birds of prey.
    • Vultures pull off a variant of this to lure a lion away from its kill. They don't physically attack the lion, but they gather in such large numbers that the lion is irritated to the point of trying to charge them down repeatedly and is eventually forced to seek shade to prevent overheating.
    • The gannets, dolphins, and other marine predators against a school of fish.