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 (2019) (updated April 2019; 296 kb) 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. A written version of the Checklist of Birds of WA 2019 is available to download as a pdf (503 kb). For the first time we are also including a separate Checklist of the Birds of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands (547 kb). Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the 2018 September checklist (128 kb) are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2017) 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 (2019) 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.

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


Changes from the WA Museum Checklist from September 2018 (updated April 2019)

Reptiles and Frogs

Revision of the tree dragons. A taxonomic revision based on genetic and morphological comparisons resulted in several name changes for Western Australian dragons. These include:

  • Resurrection of Amphibolurus centralis (Loveridge, 1933); included as belonging to the WA fauna based on a single specimen from near Wolf Creek at the Queensland Museum.
  • Description of a new species from Lophognathus horneri Melville, Ritchie, Chapple, Glor & Schulte, 2018. This species replaces L. gilberti Gray, 1842 throughout WA, except for a genotyped record of an L. gilberti in the Kimberley from Anjo Peninsula.

Melville, J., Ritchie, E.G., Chapple, S.N.J., Glor, R.E. & Schulte II, J.A. (2018). Diversity in Australia’s tropical savannas: An integrative taxonomic revision of agamid lizards from the genera Amphibolurus and Lophognathus (Lacertilia: Agamidae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 77: 41–61.

Taxomonic changes to turtle names (again). The recent paper of Kehlmaier et al. (2019) genotyped key type specimens to resolve taxonomic problems in freshwater turtles. They found evidence that Chelodina kuchlingi Cann, 1997 was a distinctive species. In addition, they found the type of C. oblonga Gray, 1841 possessed a genetic signature similar to that of C. colliei Gray, 1856, contrary to previous morphological analyses. They propose therefore to list C. oblonga as a nomen dubium and use C. rugosa Ogilby, 1890 for the Northern Territory species. There’s a single genotyped record from A. Georges (University of Canberra), but more work needs to be conducted to unequivocally confirm this species occurs in WA.

Kehlmaier, C., Zhang, X., Georges, G., Campbell, P.D., Thomson, S. & Fritz, U. (2019). Mitogenomics of historical type specimens of Australasian turtles: clarification of taxonomic confusion and old mitochondrial introgression. Science Reports 9: 5841 (8 pages).

Water python name. We follow the Australian Society of Herpetologists taxonomic checklist, and maintain Liasis fuscus (Peters, 1873) for the water python.


Alström et al. 2018 have proposed a major reclassification of the grassbirds and allies and these changes are being assessed as some species still have uncertain relationships.

Birds – State.  Added – Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola – one photographed at Herdsman Lake, February 2019.

Birds – Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands.  Added – Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus.



A new species of Pig-footed bandicoot. A taxonomic revision of the Pig-footed bandicoot, Chaeropus ecaudatus has uncovered that this species needed to be revised. A new species, Chaeropus yirratji, is described, and occurred in WA. Chaeropus ecaudatus is also split into two subspecies, with C. e. occidentalis occurring in WA.

Travouillon, K.J., Simoes, B. F., Portela Miguez, R., Brace, S., Brewer, P., Stemmer, D., Price, G.J., Cramb, J. & Louys, J. (2019). Hidden in plain sight: reassessment of the pig-footed bandicoot, Chaeropus ecaudatus (Peramelemorphia, Chaeropodidae), with a description of a new species from central australia, and use of the fossil record to trace its past distribution. Zootaxa 4566: 001-069.

The Dingo debate. Two papers were published back to back discussing the status of the Dingo either as a separate species to Dogs, or as the same species as the Dog. Upon reviewing both arguments, the dingo is considered here a subspecies of dog, a compromise which hasn’t been suggested by either paper.

Smith B.P, Cairns K.M, Crowther M.S, Adams J.W, Newsome T.M, Fillios M, Deaux E.C., Parr W.C.H, Letnic M., van Eeden L.M., Appleby R.G., Bradshaw C.J.A, Savolainen P., Ritchie E.G., Nimmo D.G., Archer-Lean C., Greenville A.C., Dickman C.R., Watson L., Moseby K.E., Doherty T.S., Wallach A.D. & Morrant D.S. (2019). Taxonomic status and nomenclature of Australia’s native canid: the case to retain Canis dingo (Meyer 1793). Zootaxa 4564: 173-197.

Jackson S. M., Fleming P. J. S., Eldridge M. D. B., Ingleby S., Flannery T. I. M., Johnson R. N., Cooper S. J. B., Mitchell K. J., Souilmi Y., Cooper A., Wilson D.E. & Helgen K.M. (2019) The Dogma of Dingoes—Taxonomic status of the dingo: A reply to Smith et al. Zootaxa 4564: 198-212.


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
Changes-to-the-WAMuseum-Checklist-Oct-2017.pdf88.33 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