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:

The male Yellow Chats can be very conspicuous when they perch on the tops of the bushes. Photo: Ric Else 2015

The male Yellow Chats can be very conspicuous when they perch on the tops of the bushes. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Yellow Chat

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!

This Common Redshank was one of four feeding on the muddy margins of Crab Creek. Photo: Nigel Jackett 2015.

This Common Redshank was one of four feeding on the muddy margins of Crab Creek. Photo: Nigel Jackett 2015.

Common Redshank

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.

Asian Dowitchers are usually found here among flocks of Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Asian Dowitchers are usually found here among flocks of Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Asian Dowitcher

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.

 

White-breasted Whistlers have powerful hooked bills for tackling crabs. They also take a wide range of other invertebrates and sometimes mudskippers. Photo: Ric Else 2014

White-breasted Whistlers have powerful hooked bills for tackling crabs. They also take a wide range of other invertebrates and sometimes mudskippers. Photo: Ric Else 2014

White-breasted Whistler

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.

Dusky Gerygones are best located among dense mangroves by their distinctive song. Interestingly, although the similar Mangrove Gerygone also occurs in the Broome area, it is not usually found in the mangroves. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Dusky Gerygones are best located among dense mangroves by their distinctive song. Interestingly, although the similar Mangrove Gerygone also occurs in the Broome area, it is not usually found in the mangroves. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Dusky Gerygone

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.

Broad-billed Sandpipers are only slightly larger than the much commoner Red-necked Stints, but can be picked out by their stripy heads and droopy-tipped bills. Photo: Ric Else 2014

Broad-billed Sandpipers are only slightly larger than the much commoner Red-necked Stints, but can be picked out by their stripy heads and droopy-tipped bills. Photo: Ric Else 2014

Broad-billed Sandpiper

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.

The Broad-billed Flycatcher’s exaggeratedly wide bill is surrounded by long rictal bristles which further increase the catching area of the bird’s mouth. Photo: Ric Else 2015

The Broad-billed Flycatcher’s exaggeratedly wide bill is surrounded by long rictal bristles which further increase the catching area of the bird’s mouth. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Broad-billed Flycatcher

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.

When conditions on the plains are good, with abundant grasshoppers and other insect food, spectacular flocks of Oriental Pratincoles can number in the tens of thousands. Photo: Ric Else 2015

When conditions on the plains are good, with abundant grasshoppers and other insect food, spectacular flocks of Oriental Pratincoles can number in the tens of thousands. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Oriental Pratincole

 

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.

The mangroves around the historic Streeter’s Jetty in Broome may be the easiest place in the world to see Red-headed Honeyeaters. Photo: Ric Else 2015

The mangroves around the historic Streeter’s Jetty in Broome may be the easiest place in the world to see Red-headed Honeyeaters. Photo: Ric Else 2015

Red-headed Honeyeater

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.

 

 

Yellow Wagtails are fairly common and easily located by their calls during the wet season. Most (including this one) are of the simillima subspecies, but taivana (Green-headed Yellow Wagtail) is sometimes also recorded. Photo: Ric Else 2014

Yellow Wagtails are fairly common and easily located by their calls during the wet season. Most (including this one) are of the simillima subspecies, but taivana (Green-headed Yellow Wagtail) is sometimes also recorded. Photo: Ric Else 2014

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.