The Broome region is home to a spectacular number and variety of bird species, but there are some particular local specialities that attract keen birders to the BBO from far and wide. Here are our top ten most sought after birds:
Undoubtedly the species that visiting twitchers are most excited about. The Yellow Chat is a little-known and dazzlingly coloured bird that lives in remote and difficult-to-get-to places. It is quite common out on Roebuck Plains, where it is found in large expanses of salt bush that can be hard to access during the wet season. The best way to see them is to join one of our Yellow Chat tours.
The chats usually breed at the end of the wet season when parts of the plains are still flooded and difficult to access by vehicle. In the dry season, they are easier to find and are sometimes encountered in flocks of hundreds!
Although a widespread and common shorebird in Europe and Asia, the Common Redshank is a very difficult species to catch up with in Australia. In fact, Roebuck Bay is the only known reliable site to see them. Their favoured spots are the banks of creeks running into the mangroves, where small numbers are regularly seen on our Mangrove Tours throughout the year. Occasionally they can be found roosting on the beaches with the other waders at high tide.
There are very few reliable sites for this rare migratory wader in Australia, and Roebuck Bay is probably the easiest place to see them. More than a hundred can occasionally be seen here in the weeks leading up to their northward migration in April, but small numbers overwinter and can be found at any time of year. We regularly encounter them roosting among other waders on our Shorebirds Tours, and sometimes on our Mangrove Tours too.
This beautiful mangrove specialist can be easily found on our Mangrove Tours. They are usually seen foraging for crabs and other small creatures low down among the mangrove roots, and their presence is often given away by their loud calls.
Another real mangrove specialist, the Dusky Gerygone is endemic to Western Australia, where it occurs exclusively in the coastal mangroves between Carnarvon and the Kimberley. It is common around Roebuck Bay and usually easily encountered on our Mangrove Tours.
A scarce migratory wader to Australia, the ‘Broady’ is fairly common and easily seen in Roebuck Bay, where it usually roosts among stints and other small waders. Most migrate to Asia in April, but some overwinter here and the species can be seen at any time of year, particularly on our Shorebirds Tours.
Mainly restricted to the northern coasts of Australia, the broad-billed Flycatcher is an attractive species with an extraordinary wide bill for catching insects in flight. It is fairly common around Roebuck Bay where it is easily seen on our Mangrove Tour.
Exclusively a wet season migrant to northern Australia, enormous flocks of these birds occur on the plains near Broome during the summer months. We may be able to find them on our Bush and Plains Tours and Lakes Tours from late October to early April.
A stunningly coloured and tiny honeyeater, this species occurs mainly in the mangroves around Broome. They occasionally occur around the BBO, but by far the easiest place to see them is in the mangroves around the town of Broome itself.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
An uncommon Summer migrant to mainly northern Australia, the Yellow Wagtail can be a difficult species to see in most places. It is, however, quite common in Broome, where it occurs on the town sewage ponds and sports fields. We also often see them on our Lakes Tours late in the dry season.