This week we were very lucky to have the third record of a Great Frigatebird for Broome. We had seen one of the other two recorded birds during a cyclonic event a few years ago. This was a very odd record, as we didn’t get the strong winds associated with Cyclone Iggy, as it was too busy being dizzy and ended up going all around the coast of Western Australia and crossing the coast as a bad weather event on Thursday this week close to Perth! It’s not just the cyclones with female names that change their minds and are unpredictable!!

We were only 300 metres from the back of our house on the road when we saw a very large dark feathered object in the middle of the road. We observed vehicles slowing down and driving around and we stopped to see what it was. We immediately realised that it was a Frigatebird, but when we picked it up we realised it was a Great Frigatebird. We see Lesser Frigatebirds quite regularly in Broome all year round. We took it home and contacted a couple of friends that are also interested in anything and everything seen in Broome. It was immediately confirmed to be a Great Frigatebird and we have no idea what caused it to be in Broome on the road near our house on a day where there was hardly a breath of wind. I took numerous photos and also weighed it out of interest. It was 925 grams and I don’t know if this is a normal weight for a Great Frigatebird. It had only just died and was a magnificent specimen. We arranged for it to go in a freezer-along with a Northern Giant Petrel that showed up on the beach here late last year and died-so a BIG freezer! It will then go to the museum.


Great Frigatebird

Head of Great Frigatebird

Feathers on the back of a Great Frigatebird

For those of you monitoring my 2012 list of birds you will notice that I have put this bird on. It has been noted that it was deceased, so you don’t have to count it on my tally if you don’t want to! I can’t ignore it…I may never see one again and it is a significant find here in Broome. I could go chasing a live one on a pelagic trip one day and remember what a magnificent bird it was up close in my garden.

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!