This year, with the exceptional rain and flooding across much of the land there has been a great opportunity for many bird species to move to the area and breed. It is not just the Magpie Geese and Pied Herons that arrived and chose to breed, but also the Australasian Swamphens. Over recent weeks and months we have gone from observing a few Australasian Swamphens nipping back and forth across the Great Northern Highway to the south of Broome to watching a few hundred of them.

Juvenile Australasian Swamphen a few weeks ago

It didn’t take long and everywhere you looked there were Australasian Swamphens feeding beside the highway. They have poor camouflage as you can see! The younger birds do not have the very red bill of the adults, but they are almost equally blue.

Australasian Swamphens feeding beside the highway

The Australasian Swamphens appear to use their feet quite a lot when they feed. As the land dries out they will move away from the area. There are some other reedbeds close to Broome and Derby that they could move to, but they may well move further afield. It is most likely that these Australasian Swamphens will travel to the north.

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!