Red-footed Boobies


Went went to Namena for the reef, but we stayed for the birds. Namenalala is home to a rookery for some thousands of boobies that spend their days circling and squawking, preening and roosting. 

Even better, the boobies aren't alone. Frigate birds circled by the hundreds, forming tornadoes around the small island whenever the sun started to think about setting. Anywhere between three and 15 tropic birds fluttered through the scene; black-naked terns nested on the rocks; white reef herons patrolled the rocky beach.

We were relieved to see so many birds. Cruising the Mamanucas and Yasawas, all of us on board were surprised by the dirth of avian life (I think we saw all of four birds in four weeks). We assumed this was due to the cyclone, and I'm not sure how this colony survived. We assume that any bird able flew to sea on the leading winds of the system and rebuilt their nest in the trees in the last four months. But we were seeing a lot of adolescent birds that seemed to be just learning to fly; have they incubated, hatched, and fledged since Cyclone Winston? An impressive thought in the face of such habitat destruction.


Ps. The bird on the lead photo is a red-footed booby; above is a juvenile great frigate bird.