Nicknamed 'Mr Woodpecker' in the UK, Heinz Sielmann first became familiar to British audiences after his celebrated woodpecker film, Zimmerleute des Waldes, was shown on the BBC television series Look, in 1955. As well as filming the birds entering and leaving the nest hole, Sielmann pioneered techniques enabling him to film inside the birds' nest, something which had never been attempted before.
Heinz acquired a reputation for skilled and ingenious ways of capturing elusive animal behaviour on film which led to many years of cooperation between the BBC and NDR, with many of Heinz' new films being brought over for UK transmission.
Heinz' first feature-length film came as a result of a commission by the King of Belgium to make a film about the nature of the Belgian Congo. The resulting Les Seigneurs de la Forêt was among the first films to reveal the gentle and social nature of wild gorillas, and the film proved a great success, being translated into 26 languages and winning first prize at the Moscow Film Festival.
From 1965 to 1991 Heinz presented a long-running and popular wildlife show on German television, Expeditionen ins Tierreich, and in the 1960s he also collaborated on a number of National Geographic Specials. In 1971 he contributed camera work to the Bafta and Oscar award-winning film Hellstrom Chronicle.
In 1994 Heinz established the Heinz Sielmann Foundation, with the aim of promoting a better understanding of nature and conservation among German children and the protection of Germany's threatened habitats.
Winner of the "Outstanding Achievement Award" at the Wildscreen "Panda" wildlife film festival in October 1984
Heinz Sielmann died on the 6th October 2006, at the age of 89.