Australian White Ibis are one of three Ibis species that we observe here in Broome. They are regularly observed at the Poo Ponds and also along the coast and the local parks. When we receive our wet season rain the Australian White Ibis can easily be observed feeding on the open plains out of town, but at the moment they are taking advantage of the local parks and the coastline. We always know when it is drying up at the ephemeral lakes due to the fact that both the Straw-necked Ibis and the Australian White Ibis become more prevalent in town. Glossy Ibis very rarely come into town, but they do breed very close by when the conditions are right.

Australian White Ibis are often observed feeding at the Port of Broome. In the header photo you can see them foraging at the water’s edge after the tide has turned. The red pindan dirt is the reason why so many of the birds around Broome are not as white as they could be. Royal Spoonbills manage to remain a lot whiter than the Ibis!

Australian White Ibis on the beach

At the local parks the Australian White Ibis takes advantage of the green grass and the food that is below. Their long curved beaks make them ideal for probing into the wet grass, which is watered regularly. Cygnet Park is always a good place to observe a variety of birds.

Australian White Ibis in Cygnet Park

In the capital cities around Australia the Australian White Ibis has adapted to the environment. Many of the birds have been individually marked to see how far they roam. They birds are affectionately called Bin Chickens due to their attraction to discarded items. Many people would be unaware of their natural habitat as they wander the city streets. The birds do a great job at cleaning up the waste and even in Broome they have worked out where our waste gets taken.

Over recent years more and more people have become aware of the Australian White Ibis and it is now recognised as much as other iconic Australian birds like the Emu or Laughing Kookaburra. It is only in recent decades that the Australian White Ibis has made itself at home in the cities and earned itself iconic status!

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!