The Golden-headed CisticolaCisticola exilis is easily found close to town in Broome if you know where to look. Although it is a very small bird that likes to hide in the dry grasses behind the Rodeo Ground it is also an inquisitive bird and has a distinctive buzzing sound. Invariably you will hear the sound of the Golden-headed Cisticola and then you will have to wait for it to jump up. Most likely your first view is the one in the above photo, but it doesn’t take long for them to be nosy as well as noisy. The advantage of the area behind the Rodeo Ground is the presence of a barbed wire fence and so rather than it jumping to the top of a piece of dry grass that then wobbles and bends over you have a chance of the bird being on a stable piece of wire for a moment or two. It is at this moment you try and grab the opportunity to photograph it before it drops back into the dry grass out of sight.

Golden-headed Cisticola

You will only get a few moments and it will fly off the barbed wire and back into the grass, but don’t be surprised if it reappears further along the barbed wire moments later to have another look at the intruders. Often there will be more than one to tease you with your camera as you move forward and they nip up and down buzzing away!

Golden-headed Cisticola heading back to the dry grass

So, if you are hoping to find a Golden-headed Cisticola next time you are in the north of Australia then there is an easy place year round in Broome to find them! You will hear them and moments later you will see them!

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!