The Broome region is home to more than 325 species of birds. This is more than one third of Australia’s total species and includes 55 species of shorebirds, which is nearly a quarter of the world’s total.
A few of the birds we regularly see here are rare or difficult to see in Australia, and birders travel to Broome from far and wide to look for these exciting species. Read more about them here.
To visit Broome is to be immersed in great abundance. The rich and unspoiled habitats of the region encourage large numbers of most species. However, the area is also well known for the number of scarce migrants and vagrants that periodically arrive here from the Northern Hemisphere. Many birds occur across the region on a seasonal basis. If you are seeking specialities, migratory or nomadic species, contact us for details on the best times to visit.
Ideally situated on the shores of Roebuck Bay, Broome Bird Observatory has unequalled access to the hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds which visit the region. Visitors learn the amazing story of the lives of these birds and witness some of the great sights in nature: the vast roosting flocks on beautiful beaches during high tide; thousands foraging on the mudflats as the tide falls; stunning breeding plumage among massive pre-migratory flocks in March, and their breathtaking departures for Asia, as they begin their migration in March/April each year. In addition to accommodating tourists and nature enthusiasts, the Observatory offers a base from which scientists, researchers and students have easy access to the bay.
The Observatory is also ideally positioned for exploring the great abundance of species found on the other major habitats of the area. These include extensive grassy plains, open tropical woodlands, acacia scrub, saltmarshes, claypans, fresh water lakes and mangroves. Each of these habitats are rich with endemic and nomadic bush birds.
Birds of the Plains
Roebuck Plains has an abundance of pipits, bushlarks, cisticolas, bustard and quail year round and, from September to March, is well populated with Oriental Plover, Yellow Wagtails and sometimes Oriental Pratincole. Freshwater lakes and claypans are homes to dozens of species of ducks and shorebirds, including Brolgas, Black-necked Storks and large numbers of Little Curlew.
The woodlands on Roebuck Plains provide an abundance of specialist species, many of which are highly sought after by birding enthusiasts. The variety of woodland types makes for a wide range of endemic and nomadic species, which turn up in numbers, responding to seasonal changes and conditions across the region. During and just after the wet season, the plains become an enormous haven for waterfowl which descend on the area from many parts of Australia to breed, making this a fantastic time of the year to visit.
The mangroves around Broome are also great havens for a variety of species which includes: Broad-billed Flycatchers, White-breasted Whistlers, Red-headed Honeyeaters, Mangrove Golden Whistlers and many, many more. These species are easily accessible and highly sought after. Saltmarsh is extensive on Roebuck Plains and is home to vast numbers of Yellow Chats, making a stay at the Observatory a “must” for “Chatting enthusiasts”.
Raptors are always present, with 22 of the 24 Australian raptors having been recorded around Broome. It is not uncommon to observe more than 15 species on any one day.