Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 6 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2020) (updated Apr 2020; 329 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 2020 is available to download as a pdf (569 kb). For the first time we are also including a separate Checklist of the Birds of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands (398 kb). Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the 2019 Oct checklist (88 kb) 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 from the WA Museum Checklist from October 2019 (updated April 2020)

Reptiles and Frogs

Tympanocryptis taxonomic revisions. Ongoing revisionary work by Melville and colleagues has revealed that T. lineata is a south-eastern species near Canberra. This results in the former subspecies of T. lineatacentralis  and macra – being raised to full species: T. centralis and T. macra. This action was taken in the Melville & Wilson (2019).

Melville, J. & Wilson, S. (2019). Dragon lizards of Australia: evolution, ecology and a comprehensive field guide. Melbourne: Museum Victoria Press.

Revision of the Gehyra australis-koira complex. Further Gehyra gecko revisions have occurred, this time with the northern tropical species being examined. Based on genetics and morphology, Oliver et al. (2019) found evidence for nine species within the current taxonomy of G. australis and G. koira (with two subspecies). As a result of the work, G. australis is restricted to the Top End of the Northern Territory, and no longer occurs in WA. Instead, the WA and southern NT species formerly called G. australis, is now G. gemina.

Within the G. koira group, the species are: G. koira, G. ipsa (raised from a subspecies of koira), G. calcitectus and G. chimera.

Oliver, P.M., Prasetya, A.M., Tedeschi, L.G., Fenker, J., Ellis, R.J., Doughty, P. and Moritz, C.C. (2020). Convergence and crypsis: integrative taxonomic revision of the Gehyra australis group (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northern Australia. PeerJ: 8:e7971.


Raising of Nephrurus wheeleri and Pletholax gracilis subspecies. Each of these species contained a subspecies added by Glen Storr. Keally et al. (2020) used an integrated taxonomic approach to investigate the status of the subspecies, and raised both to full species.


Kealley, L., Doughty, P., Edwards, D.L. and Brennan, I.G. (2020). Taxonomic assessment of two pygopodoid gecko subspecies from Western Australia. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 66: 1–16.


Description of western Emydocepahlus annulatus as a distinct species. The west coast populations of E. annulatus (which no longer occurs in WA) have been described as E. orarius, based on genetics, body size and morphology.


Nankivell, J.H., Goiran, C., Hourston, M., Shine, R., Rasmussen, A.R., Thomson, V.A. and Sanders, K.L. (2020). A new species of turtle-headed sea snake (Emydocephalus: Elapidae) endemic to Western Australia.

Zootaxa 4758: 141–156.


Miscellaneous taxonomic and spelling emendations.

  • Following the Australian Society of Herpetologists’ taxonomic list, no subspecies of Varanus tristus are recognised owing to this species’ massive distribution and poorly-defined subspecific definitions.
  • The specific ending of the colubrid snake Dendrelaphis punctulatus has been emended (from punctulata).
  • The genera Cerberus and Fordonia have been moved to the family Homalopsidae from Colubridae.




WA State checklist

Taxon name change for Eastern Barn Owl to Tyto javanica delicatula.

Changes to vernacular name for Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and Rose-crowned Fruit Dove.


Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands checklist

Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni added to Christmas Island (based on photographs).



Petrogale lateralis taxonomic revision. For many years, the Black-footed Rock-wallaby has been known to have several distinct population. Recent work by Eldridge & Potter (2020) has finally given a name to two of those distinct populations, as distinct subspecies: Petrogale lateralis centralis for the Central Australian Rock-Wallaby, and Petrogale lateralis kimberleyensis for the West Kimberbey Rock-wallaby..

Eldridge, M.D.B. & Potter, S. (2020). Taxonomy of rock-wallabies, Petrogale (Marsupialia: Macropodidae).V. A description of two new subspecies of the black-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis). Australian Journal of Zoology.


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