Christmas Island’s resident Abbott’s Boobies – the rarest boobies in the world – may well be its most distinctive inhabitants.
As if millions of Red Crabs migrating along an empty beach to the moon’s cycle aren’t enough, Christmas Island is also home to super colonies of yellow crazy ants crawling up its trees. A wild place, to be sure. But it’s actually the island’s resident Abbott’s Boobies – the rarest boobies in the world – that may well be its most distinctive inhabitants.
These very picky birds have chosen Christmas Island as their sole nesting place, even though they’re well built for long distance flights and are sometimes delightfully called the jumbo jet of boobies.
They’re the only boobies in the world that nest solely in very high rainforest canopy – and they rely on the wind to lift them from their lofty nesting places on the tallest emerging trees. Should the young boobies fall through the canopy to the forest floor, however, they’re in a pretty poor position since there’s little wind down there, making them vulnerable to feral cats and robber crabs.
Christmas Island is a highly prized destination in the general bird watching community, so be sure to go on a tour and discover the island’s beauty through binoculars while you’re there.
Where // Christmas Island is in the Indian Ocean about 2600km northwest of Perth. The Christmas Island Tourism Association is on (08) 9164 8382 or www.christmas.net.au
Did you know? // Abbott’s Boobiesare also the world’s largest boobies, with a wingspan similar in size and structure to the albatross. They’re also the best tree climbers of all boobies; if one crash lands in a tree a few branches lower than planned, it will hook its bill over a branch and use its strong neck to haul itself back up.