Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 5 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2023) (updated November 2023) 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. 

The changes from the 2023 November checklist are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2022) 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 (2023) 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 May 2023 (updated November 2023)


Reptiles and frogs


Blindsnake removed. The P2 Cape Range endemic blindsnake Anilios splendidus (Aplin, 1998) has been synonymised with A. pinguis (Waite, 1897) and removed from the checklist.

Tiatragul, S., Brennan, I.G., Broady, E.S., & Keogh, J.S. (2023). Australia’s hidden radiation: phylogenomics analysis reveals rapid Miocene radiation of blindsnakes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 185: 107812.


Whipsnake revision. Nankivell et al. (2023) revised the Demansia psammophis complex across Australia. Demansia reticulata is raised to a full species and occurs in western Australia; D. psammophis is the full species that occurs in eastern Australia. No subspecies are now recognized, including D. p. cupriceps, a new species, D. cyanochasma occurs in a large area in central Australia, including WA.

Nankivell, J.H., Maryan, B., Bush, B.G. & Hutchinson, M.N. (2003). Whip it into shape: Revision of the Demansia psammophis (Schlegel, 1837) complex (Squamata: Elapidae), with a description of a new species from central Australia. Zootaxa 5311: 301-309. DOI: 10.11646/ ZOOTAXA.5311.3.1


Military dragon revision. Edwards & Hutchinson (2023) revised the Ctenophorus maculatus complex, including C. femoralis, C. fordi and C. spinodomus. For WA, they raised all four subspecies of C. maculatus, thus: C. badius, C. dualis, C. griseus and C. maculatus. They also described a new species that was formerly regarded as C. fordi: C. tjakalpa.

Edwards, D.L. & Hutchinson, M.N. (2023). Sand dragons: Species of the Ctenophorus maculatus complex (Squamata: Agamidae) of Australia’s southern and western interior. Journal of Herpetology 57: 176-196. doi: org/10.1670/22-021


Burrowing snakes revision. Maryan et al. (2023). reviewed morphological and molecular evidence for generic arrangements for native WA burrowing snakes of the genus Neelaps. They found that a taxonomic arrangement whereby two monotypic genera are recognized best fit the evolutionary patterns. Thus, Neelaps calonotos and the resurrected Narophis for the species N. bimaculatus.

Maryan, B., Bolton, P. & Keogh, J.S. (2023). Phylogeny and morphology of the Australian snake genus Neelaps Gunther, 1863 (Squamata: Elapidae), with resurrection of Narophis Worrell, 1961. Australian Journal of Taxonomy 34: 1-25. doi: 10.54102/ajt.29hub


Northern laughing frog revision. The tree frog Litoria rothii is widely distributed across the Australian Monsoonal Tropics. Donnellan et al. (2023) recently examined the complex with a morphological, molecular and acoustic study. They found that L. rothii is restricted to northeastern Australia and southern New Guinea, L. everetti to Indonesian islands and a new species, Litoria ridibunda, occurs in the Kimberley of WA and the Top End of the Northern Territory. Accordingly, L. rothii is no longer listed as a WA species and L. ridibunda has replaced it.

Donnellan, S.C., Catullo, R.A., Rowley, J.J.L., Doughty, P., Price, L., Hines, H.B. & Richards, S.J. (2023). Revision of Litoria rothii (Anura: Pelodryadidae) from northern Australia. Zootaxa 5352: 73-108. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.5352.1.3




Following IOC changes.

Restore Major Mitchell's Cockatoo to Cacatua from Lophochroa (Schodde & Mason 1997; HBW/BirdLife). The species is deeply basal within the same clade as the other species in Cacatua (Provost et al. 2018). But it shares similar morphological, behavioral, and vocal features as the other species in that genus, suggesting that Lophochroa may be more appropriately treated as a subgenus.

Northern Shriketit Falcunculus whitei is a split from (Eastern) Shriketit F. frontatus based on plumage and vocalizations. (Schodde & Mason 1999; del Hoyo & Collar 2016; HBW/BirdLife).

Western Shriketit Falcunculus leucogaster is split from (Eastern) Shriketit F. frontatus based on plumage and vocalizations. (Schodde & Mason 1999; del Hoyo & Collar 2016; HBW/BirdLife). 




2 new Planigale for WA. Umbrello et al. (2023) revised the Pilbara Planigale, and described two new species, P. kendricki and P. tealei, formally known as ‘Planigale sp.1 and Planigale ‘Mt Tom Price’. These two species have been now renamed in the checklist.  

Umbrello, L.S., Cooper, N.K., Adams, M., Travouillon, K.J., Baker, A.M., Westerman, M. & Aplin, K.P. (2023). Hiding in plain sight: two new species of diminutive marsupial (Dasyuridae: Planigale) from the Pilbara, Australia. Zootaxa 5330 (1): 001-046.


2 new mulgaras. The mulgaras (Dasycercus) have been revised by Newman-Martin et al. (2023), and found two new species for Western Australia, D. woolleyae and D. archeri, both of which are thought to be extinct. These have been added to the checklist. The status of D. cristicauda has also been updated to ‘Extinct’.  

Newman-Martin, J., Travouillon, K.J., Warburton, N., Barham, M. & Blyth, A.J. (2023) Taxonomic review of the genus Dasycercus (Dasyuromorphia: Dasyuridae) using modern and subfossil material; and the description of three new species, Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.


WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-November 2023.xlsx1006.8 KB
2023 November Changes.pdf194.41 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-May 2023.xlsx1006.26 KB
2023 May Changes.pdf175.46 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-November 2022.xlsx1003.83 KB
2022 November changes.pdf174.43 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-May 2022.xlsx1001.72 KB
2022 May changes.docx18.44 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - May 2022.pdf495.51 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-November 2021.xlsx1002.71 KB
2021 November changes.docx19.71 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - November 2021.pdf698.01 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - November 2021.pdf498.83 KB
WA-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-June-2021.xlsx1003.83 KB
2021 June changes.docx30.87 KB
Checklist of Birds of WA - June 2021.pdf692.58 KB
Checklist of Birds of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands - June 2021.pdf570.05 KB
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