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Nature Weirdest

   2023    Nature
We love nature and all its glorious diversity. Some creatures we admire for their deadly beauty, others because they are cute, but for some it's hard to figure out exactly why we like them so much, perhaps it's a quirk. How do you decide nature's weirdest animal? Is it the sloth that hangs upside down and moves so slowly that moss grows in its fur? Is it a sea pen that sits rooted to the seabed in endless darkness and emitting its own glow? Could it be carnivorous snails that leave the ocean to digest dead creatures on the beach, finches that drink blood, or the tarantula that keeps a frog as it's pet. But with nature's endless variety, which is the weirdest? We can't decide. Can you?

Life: Birds

   2009    Nature
Birds owe their global success to feathers - something no other animal has. They allow birds to do extraordinary things. For the first time, a slow-motion camera captures the unique flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird as he flashes long, iridescent tail feathers in the gloomy undergrowth. Aerial photography takes us into the sky with an Ethiopian lammergeier dropping bones to smash them into edible-sized bits. Thousands of pink flamingoes promenade in one of nature's greatest spectacles. The sage grouse rubs his feathers against his chest in a comic display to make popping noises that attract females. The Vogelkop bowerbird makes up for his dull colour by building an intricate structure and decorating it with colourful beetles and snails.
Series: Life

Hiding in Colour

   2021    Nature
David Attenborough reveals the extraordinary ways that some animals use colour to hide and disappear into the background. New science reveals how the Bengal tiger in central India uses its orange-black stripes to hide from its colour-blind prey. In Kenya’s Masai Mara, the zebra’s black-and-white pattern confuses predators with an extraordinary effect called motion dazzle. And on the island of Cuba, a small snail uses colourful stripes in a surprising way to hide from its enemies.
Other animals use colour to trick and to deceive. On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a blue-striped blenny uses colours to mimic other fish and launch a sudden attack. In the grasslands of Zambia, the chick of a pin-tailed whydah mimics the patterns of its nest mates to ensure that it is not detected as an imposter. And specialist cameras reveal how a tiny crab spider uses bright ultraviolet colours to lure in its victims.
Series: Attenborough Life in Colour

Grasslands

   2023    Nature
David Attenborough explores Britain and Ireland’s grasslands, revealing the creatures that create them and the extraordinary stories they hide. From the coastal flower meadows in the Scottish Outer Hebrides to the rich open landscapes in the mountains of southern Ireland, we enter surprising and dramatic worlds.
In southern England, we meet an extraordinary bee that lives in chalk grassland, one of our rarest habitats, laying her eggs in empty snail shells. Meanwhile, in the colourful machair of the Hebrides, ringed plovers and lapwings strive to rear their families of tiny fluffy chicks and to save them for marauding gulls.
We travel back in time to explore the vast wild grasslands once found throughout our isles, before meeting herds of semi-wild horses, where males battle fiercely for the females. Today, they are helping to turn some of this land back to wilderness. And in our precious remaining pockets of flower-rich meadow, a remarkable conservation success story plays out. Once extinct in our isles, England now has the largest known populations of large blue butterflies. Their survival relies on a game of deception with red ants, which are tricked into adopting the butterfly’s unassuming but predatory caterpillars.
Our story then journeys to the mountains. Each morning in early spring, feisty male black grouse battle for prime position on their frozen breeding grounds. Their sole mission is to impress a female. Meanwhile, on south-facing scree slopes, dozens of adders emerge from hibernation to perform a surprisingly delicate courtship routine.
The episode concludes with a mighty battle in the wild mountains of County Kerry. This is the scene of an epic and spectacular rut between the largest land mammals in Britain and Ireland, red deer.
The grasslands of Britain and Ireland are under threat. We have lost 97 per cent of our species-rich meadows in the last century, as modern agriculture replaces these precious habitats. This episode shows just how important different types of grassland are to the species which call these islands home.
Series: Wild Isles
First Life

First Life

2010  Science
Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist

2007  Culture
The Story of Maths

The Story of Maths

2008  Science
Seven Ages of Rock

Seven Ages of Rock

2007  Art
Cosmos

Cosmos

1980  Science