Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 3 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2020) (updated Nov2020) for the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of Western Australia. This handy Excel sheet can be modified to suit your needs or imported into other applications. Use the 'SORT' column to restore the list into taxonomic order. The file is a single Excel workbook, with separate sheets for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Two written versions are available to download as PDFs - the Checklist of Birds of WA 2020 or a separate Checklist of the Birds of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the 2020 Apr checklist are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2019) can be found in the documents at the bottom of the page.

A comprehensive update of the WA Checklist is released by the WA Museum every year or as necessary. The WA checklist (2020) contains revisions of the terrestrial vertebrate species of Western Australia and additional information on the conservation status of the WA fauna (provided by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions). 

The taxonomic changes are based on the work of the WA Museum's Terrestrial Zoology staff, and their many colleagues from around Australia and beyond. In the future, we will try to update the list as new taxonomic changes occur.

Bookmark this page, and keep visiting for the latest updated version.This page is updated twice a year, in April and October.

Please contact the relevant author of the specific list if you have any questions or comments.

 


Changes to the WA Museum Checklist from April 2020 (updated November 2020)

Reptiles and Frogs

Species name for the south-western long-neck turtle. After several years as Chelodina colliei, the south-western turtle is now back to its original name of C. oblonga after more taxonomic research to investigate the type specimens.

Shea, G., Thomson, S. & Georges, A. (2020). The identity of Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 (Testudines: Chelidae) reassessed. Zootaxa 4779: 419–437.

Change in type location of Chelodina kuchlingi and removal of Chelodina rugosa

Kuchling (2020) combed through naturalist Harry Butler’s field notebooks and made use of other information to change the type location of Chelodina kuchlingi from Kalumburu to Parry’s Lagoon in the eastern Kimberley. This raises the possibility the species may be of conservation concern, as the last specimens were collected in the 1960s.

The occurrence of Chelodina rugosa in Western Australia, which is more widely distributed in the Northern Territory and in the eastern Kimberley, was based on the publication of Kennett et al. (2014; as C. oblonga) and discussion with A. Georges (University of Canberra). However, the data points in that publication were not based on specimen or genetic records, hence we have not listed this species in the absence of stronger evidence for its occurrence.

Kuchling, G. (2020). Type locality and distribution of the Data Deficient Chelodina kuchlingi and a review of its status as a distinct species. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 19 : 48 – 57.

Kennett, R., Fordham, D.A., Alacs, E., Corey, B. and Georges, A. (2014). Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 – Northern Snake-Necked Turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B. and Mittermeier, R.A. (eds), Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5: 77.1–&7.13.

Revision of Suta and Parasuta, and a new species from the Pilbara. In a review of the snake genera Parasuta and Suta, Maryan et al. (2020) found that Parasuta spectabilis bushi and P. s. nullarbor were not different from P. gouldii, and were synonomised under P. gouldii. Furthermore, they found that Parasuta was not supported as a separate genus and synonomised under Suta. Pilbara populations of S. monachus were found to be a new species that they described as Suta gaikorstorum.

In summary, all subspecies of P. spectabilis no longer occur in WA (bushi and nullarbor to synonomy; spectabilis restricted to the eastern states), Parasuta species transferred to Suta (gouldii, monachus, nigriceps) and one new species from the Pilbara (formerly P. monachus): S. gaikhorstorum.

Maryan, B., Brennan, I.G., Hutchinson, M.N. & Geidans, L.S. (2020). What’s under the hood? Phylogeny and taxonomy of the snake genera Parasuta Worrell and Suta Worrell (Squamata: Elapidae), with a description of a new species from the Pilbara, Western Australia. Zootaxa 4778: 1–47.

 

Birds

Changes and amendments to the previous checklists (April 2020) have been carried out with reference mainly to the International Ornithological Committee (IOC checklist Version 10.2). A brief explanation is provided for changes, incorporation of new higher-level classification and recent family, generic, specific and sub-specific changes as well as newly recorded species. Where necessary, reasons for departing from the current IOC checklist are given, especially where the Western Australian Museum collection material and distributional data etc. differs. This information is given in the ‘Comments’ field of the spreadsheet and in the footnotes of the PDF version.

WA State checklist

Taxon family name change for Emu from Dromaiidae to Casuariidae.

Taxon name change for Radjah Shelduck to Radjah radjah.

Taxon name change for Eurasian Wigeon to Mareca penelope.

Taxon name change for Kerguelen Petrel to Aphrodroma brevirostris.

Trindade Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana added.

Macscarene Petrel Pseudobulweria aterrima added.

Taxon name change for Tahiti Petrel to Pseudobulweria rostrata.

Taxon name change for Wedge-tailed Shearwater to Ardenna pacifica.

Taxon name change for Sooty Shearwater to Ardenna grisea.

Taxon name change for Short-tailed Shearwater to Ardenna tenuirostris.

Taxon name change for Flesh-footed Shearwater to Ardenna carneipes.

Taxon name change for Great Shearwater to Ardenna gravis.

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus added.

Austral Storm Petrels genera Oceanites, Garrodia, Pelagodroma and Fregetta moved to family Oceanitidae. The Northern Storm Petrels genus Oceanodroma remains in Hydrobatidae.

Common Diving Petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix moved to family Procellariidae

Taxon name change for Australian White Ibis to Threskiornis molucca (species epithet treated as a noun in apposition, thus invariable).

Australian Little Bittern Ixobrychus dubius is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Pied Heron to Egretta picata.

Taxon name change for White-faced Heron to Egretta novaehollandiae.

Taxon name change for Little Egret to Egretta garzetta.

Taxon name change for Eastern Reef Heron to Egretta sacra.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris is now treated as a full species.

Emend spelling of ptilorhynchus for Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus.

Emend subspecies gender for White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus leucomelana.

Emend spelling of subspecies for Sooty Oystercatcher to Haematopus fuliginosus opthalmicus.

Taxon name change for Broad-billed Sandpiper to Calidris falcinellus.

Taxon name change for Buff-breasted Sandpiper to Calidris subruficollis.

Taxon name change for Ruff to Calidris pugnax.

Australian Gull-billed Tern Sterna macrotarsa is now treated as a full species.

Grey-capped Fruit Dove Ptilinopus regina xanthogaster added.

Aerodramus "Nest swiftlets" Aerodramus spp. added for Kimberley sightings.

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris chloris added.

Taxon name change for Northern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo to Calyptorhynchus banksii banksii which includes former ssp. macrorhynchus as a junior synonym.

Taxon name change for Inland Red-tailed Black Cockatoo to Calyptorhynchus banksii escondidus formerly regarded as the western form of C. b. samueli.

Change of south-west ssp. of Regent Parrot to Polytelis anthopeplus anthopeplus.

Kimberley Honeyeater Meliphaga fordiana is now treated as a full species.

Quail-thrush Cinclosoma now separated to family Cinclosomatidae.

Shriketit Falcunculus now separated to monotypic family Falcunculidae.

Taxon name change for Mangrove Robin to Peneothello pulverulenta.

Taxon name change for Gouldian Finch to Chloebia gouldiae.

Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands checklist

Taxon name change for Wedge-tailed Shearwater to Ardenna pacifica.

Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis added.

Taxon name change for Pied Heron to Egretta picata.

Taxon name change for White-faced Heron to Egretta novaehollandiae.

Taxon name change for Little Egret to Egretta garzetta.

Taxon name change for Western Reef Heron to Egretta gularis.

Taxon name change for Eastern Reef Heron to Egretta sacra.

Emend spelling of ptilorhynchus for Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus.

Change of vernacular name from Andrew’s Rail to Cocos Buff-banded Rail.

Emend spelling of opthalmicus for Haematopus fuliginosus opthalmicus.

Change of vernacular name from White-headed Stilt to Pied Stilt.

Taxon name change for Broad-billed Sandpiper to Calidris falcinellus.

Emend spelling of annectens for Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectens.

 

Mammals

Petaurus breviceps taxonomic revision. A recent genetic study of the Sugar Glider, Petaurus breviceps, has found that it is in fact three distinct species. The Top End and Kimberley subspecies Petaurus breviceps ariel has been raised to species, Petaurus ariel, and a new common name has been selected for it, ‘Savannah Glider’.

Cremora, T., Baker, A.M., Cooper, S.J.B., Montague-Drake, R., Stobo-Wilson, A.M. & Carthew, S.M. (2020). Integrative taxonomic investigation of Petaurus breviceps (Marsupialia: Petauridae) reveals three distinct species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa060

 

AttachmentSize
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-Nov 2020.xlsx1001.39 KB
2020, November, updated changes.pdf213.57 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - November 2020.pdf709.71 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - November 2020.pdf467.47 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-Apr 2020.xlsx329.57 KB
2020, April, updated changes.pdf89.63 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - April 2020.pdf569.95 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - April 2020.pdf398.51 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-Oct 2019.xlsx329.08 KB
2019, October, FINAL updated changes.pdf70.6 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - October 2019.pdf523.05 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - October 2019.pdf350.24 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates- April 2019.xlsx296.41 KB
2019, updated changes.pdf128.36 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - April 2019.pdf503.51 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - April 2019.pdf547.3 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates- 10 September 2018.xlsx276.91 KB
Changes-to-the-WAMuseum-Checklist-Sept-2018.pdf202.33 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - September 2018.pdf502.12 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - September 2018.pdf547.35 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates- 16 April 2018.xlsx295.67 KB
Changes-to-the-WAMuseum-Checklist-Apr-2018.pdf124.98 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - April 2018.pdf501.68 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - April 2018.pdf547.56 KB
WAMuseum-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-11.10.2017.xlsx287.1 KB
Changes-to-the-WAMuseum-Checklist-Oct-2017.pdf88.33 KB
Checklist-of-Birds-of-Christmas-and-Cocos-(Keeling)-islands-August-2017.pdf543.24 KB
Checklist-of-Birds-of-WA-August-2017.pdf495.39 KB
Changes-to-WAMuseum-Checklist-August-2016.pdf178.49 KB
Changes to the WA Checklist 2015.pdf308.67 KB
Changes to the WA Checklist 2015b (Mammals).pdf92.46 KB
Changes to the WA Terrestrial Vertebrate checklist, 2012-2014.pdf155.16 KB