Around Broome we have several members of the Kingfisher family, with the most common being the Sacred Kingfisher and the Red-backed Kingfisher. They are similar in size, but the Red-backed Kingfisher is more often seen inland and not necessarily near water. The Red-backed Kingfisher hunts large insects and small reptiles and can often be seen perched on open dead trees. On a recent visit to an inland area not far from the township of Broome we were lucky enough to not only observe this species, but also take some photographs from a close distance. We remained in our vehicle to enable the best photographs without a long lens and the bird was even obliging enough to turn and show its red back. Often the distinguishing red back is not visible, but on this occasion it showed nicely and I was able to photograph it.

It showed its streaked grey crown nicely and its long black mask.

Red-backed Kingfisher (2)

Red-backed Kingfisher (3)

Red-backed Kingfisher

It then rotated to show its red back, which I had never been able to photograph before.

Red-backed Kingfisher (4)

Red-backed Kingfisher (6)

Red-backed Kingfisher (5)

 Red-backed Kingfisher

Once again our vehicle was the perfect hide for photographing a bird that we would have no chance of photographing at such a close distance on foot. Although we do enjoy hiking we have to admit that we get better photographs on some occasions by using our vehicle as a hide.

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!