Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 1 month ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2021) (updated June 2021) 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 2021 or a separate Checklist of the Birds of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the 2021 June checklist are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2020) 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 (2021) 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 November 2020 (updated June 2021)

 

Reptiles and Frogs

Some changes with turtles

The western swamp tortoise common name has been changed back from “turtle”. The species is a turtle, with tortoises such as the Galapagos tortoise belonging to a completely different terrestrial group. However, “tortoise” has been traditionally used in WA so we have retained it.

 

The family names of Elseya, Emydura and Pseudemydura have been emended to Chelidae (from Cheluidae) in keeping with global turtle taxonomy.

 

Lucasium geckos: new, old and emended

Eastwood et al. (2020) revised the Lucasium stenodactylus gecko group, resurrecting L. woodwardi Fry for the Pilbara and Gascoyne popuations, described a new species (L. microplax) largely in South Australia but that occurs in WA along the eastern border and emended the spelling of L. stenodactylus itself (from L. stenodactylum since a revision in 2007).

 

Eastwood, J., Doughty, P., Hutchinson, M.N. and Pepper (2020). Revision of Lucasium stenodactylus (Boulenger, 1896; Squamata: Diplodactylidae), with the resurrection of L. woodwardi (Fry, 1914) and the description of a new species from south-central Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 35: 63–86. https://DOI:/10.18195/issn.0312-3162.35.2020.063-086

 

Synonomy of Stimson’s python (Aspidites stimsoni) with Children’s python (A. children)

Esquerre et al. (2021) recently revised the genus, finding support for three subspecies of A. maculosus along the Great Dividing Range and New Guinea, and also finding little support for A. stimsoni (with two subspecies) as a separately evolving lineage from A. childreni. Accordingly we have removed A. stimsoni and both of its subspecies from the checklist.

 

Esquerre, Donnellan, S.D., Pavón-Vázquez, C.J., Fenker, J. and Keogh, J.S. (2021). Phylogeography, historical demography and systematics of the world’s smallest pythons (Pythonidae, Antaresia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 161: 107181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2021.107181

 

Addition of the Western Pygmy Mulga Snake, Pseudechis weigeli

We instated this species here to be consistent with other field guides and on-line atlases.

 

Birds

Changes and amendments to the previous checklists (November 2020) have been carried out with reference mainly to the International Ornithological Committee (IOC checklist Version 11.1). A brief explanation is provided for changes, incorporation of new higher-level classification and recent order, 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

Resequence the order Anseriformes to precede Galliformes.

Taxon name change for Garganey to Spatula querquedula.

Taxon name change for Australasian Shoveler to Spatula rhynchotis.

Taxon name change for Northern Shoveler to Spatula clypeata.

Taxon name change for Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo to Chalcites basalis.

Taxon name change for Black-eared Cuckoo to Chalcites osculans.

Taxon name change for Shining Bronze Cuckoo to Chalcites lucidus.

Taxon name change for Little Bronze Cuckoo to Chalcites minutillus.

Taxon name change for Pallid Cuckoo to Heteroscenes pallidus.

Taxon name change for Buff-banded Rail to Hypotaenidia philippensis.

Australasian Swamphen Porphyrio melanotus is now treated as a full species

Taxon name change for Baillon’s Crake to Zapornia pusilla.

Taxon name change for Spotless Crake to Zapornia tabuensis.

Taxon name change for White-browed Crake to Poliolimnas cinereus.

Taxon name change for Sarus Crane to Antigone antigone.

Taxon name change for Brolga to Antigone rubicunda.

Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula australis is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Terek Sandpiper to Xenus cinereus.

Taxon name change for Common Sandpiper to Actitis hypoleucos.

Taxon name change for Sabine’s Gull to Xema sabini.

Taxon name change for Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon nilotica.

Taxon name change for Asian Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon nilotica affinis.

Taxon name change for Australian Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon macrotarsa.

Taxon name change for Caspian Tern to Hydroprogne caspia.

Taxon name change for Greater Crested Tern to Thalasseus bergii.

Taxon name change for Lesser Crested Tern to Thalasseus bengalensis.

Taxon name change for White-shafted Little Tern to Sternula albifrons.

Taxon name change for Fairy Tern to Sternula nereis.

Taxon name change for Bridled Tern to Onychoprion anaethetus.

Taxon name change for Sooty Tern to Onychoprion fuscatus.

Taxon name change for Whiskered Tern to Chlidonias hybrida.

Taxon name change for White-winged Black Tern to Chlidonias leucopterus.

Taxon name change for Gibson’s Albatross to Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni.

Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena is now treated as a full species.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri is now treated as a full species.

Grey-faced Petrel Pterodroma gouldi is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Little Pied Cormorant to Microcarbo melanoleucos.

Taxon name change for Kerguelen Shag (Kerguelen Cormorant) to Leucocarbo verrucosus.

Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name for Great Egret reverts to subspecies Ardea alba modesta.

Torresian Kingfisher Todiramphus sordidus is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Pilbara Collared Kingfisher to Todiramphus sordidus pilbara.

Taxon name change for Galah to Eolophus roseicapilla.

Subspecies Eolophus roseicapilla kuhli added along with removal of ssp. Eolophus roseicapilla albiceps.

Taxon name change for Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo to Lophochroa leadbeateri.

Family name change for Old World Parrots to Psittaculidae (separated from Psittacidae).

Taxon name change for Naretha Blue Bonnet to Northiella narethae.

Taxon name change for Mulga Parrot to Psephotellus varius.

Taxon name change for Red-capped Parrot to Purpureicephalus spurius.

Taxon name change for Australian Ringneck to Barnardius zonarius.

Taxon name change for Port Lincoln Parrot to Barnardius zonarius zonarius

Taxon name change for Twenty-eight Parrot to Barnardius zonarius semitorquatus.

Taxon name change for Bourke’s Parrot to Neopsephotus bourkii.

Taxon name change for Varied Lorikeet to Psitteuteles versicolor.

Taxon name change for Western Bowerbird to Chlamydera guttata.

Taxon name change for Great Bowerbird to Chlamydera nuchalis.

Taxon name change for Spotted Bowerbird to Chlamydera maculata.

Purple-backed Fairywren Malurus assimilis is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Lavender-flanked Fairywren to Malurus assimilis rogersi.

Taxon name change for Shark Bay Purple-backed Fairywren to Malurus assimilis bernieri.

Rufous Grasswren Amytornis whitei is now treated as a full species.

Pilbara Grasswren Amytornis whitei whitei added.

Cape Range Grasswren Amytornis whitei parvus added.

Sandhill Grasswren Amytornis whitei oweni added.

Taxon name change for White-eared Honeyeater to Nesoptilotis leucotis.

Taxon name change for Western White-eared Honeyeater to Nesoptilotis leucotis novaenorciae.

Taxon name change for Kimberley Honeyeater to Territornis fordiana.

Rufous Fieldwren subspecies Calamanthus campestris rubiginosus added.

Dirk Hartog Island Rufous Fieldwren Calamanthus campestris hartogi added.

Spotted Scrubwren Sericornis maculatus is now treated as a full species.

Family name change for butcherbirds, magpies and currawongs to Artamidae.

Taxon name change for Black Butcherbird to Melloria quoyi.

Taxon name change for Australian Magpie to Gymnorhina tibicen.

Taxon name change for Black-backed Magpie to Gymnorhina tibicen tibicen.

Taxon name change for White-backed Magpie to Gymnorhina tibicen dorsalis.

Taxon name change for Western Golden Whistler to Pachycephala fuliginosa occidentalis.

Taxon name change for White-breasted Robin to Quoyornis georgianus.

Western Yellow Robin Eopsaltria griseogularis is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Double-barred Finch to Stizoptera bichenovii.

Taxon name change for Eastern Yellow Wagtail to Motacilla tschutschensis.

 

Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands checklist

Resequence the order Anseriformes to precede Galliformes.

Taxon name change for Garganey to Spatula querquedula.

Christmas Island Swiftlet Collocalia natalis is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Pallid Cuckoo to Heteroscenes pallidus.

Taxon name change for Buff-banded Rail to Hypotaenidia philippensis.

Taxon name change for Lesser Moorhen to Paragallinula angulata.

Taxon name change for Ruddy-breasted Crake to Zapornia fusca.

Taxon name change for Baillon’s Crake to Zapornia pusilla.

Taxon name change for Terek Sandpiper to Xenus cinereus.

Taxon name change for Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon nilotica.

Taxon name change for Asian Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon nilotica affinis.

Taxon name change for Australian Gull-billed Tern to Gelochelidon macrotarsa.

Taxon name change for Greater Crested Tern to Thalasseus bergii.

Taxon name change for Lesser Crested Tern to Thalasseus bengalensis.

Taxon name change for Little Tern to Sternula albifrons.

Taxon name change for White-shafted Little Tern to Sternula albifrons sinensis.

Taxon name change for Saunders’s Tern to Sternula saundersi.

Taxon name change for Bridled Tern to Onychoprion anaethetus.

Taxon name change for Sooty Tern to Onychoprion fuscatus.

Taxon name change for Whiskered Tern to Chlidonias hybrida.

Taxon name change for White-winged Black Tern to Chlidonias leucopterus.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Little Pied Cormorant to Microcarbo melanoleucos.

Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name for Great Egret reverts to subspecies Ardea alba modesta.

Family name change for Old World Parrots to Psittaculidae.

Taxon name change for Double-barred Finch to Stizoptera bichenovii.

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus is now treated as a full species.

Taxon name change for Eastern Yellow Wagtail to Motacilla tschutschensis.

Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola added.

 

Mammals

Arctophoca reverting back to Arctocephalus. A recent phylogenetic study has shown that Australian fur seals, which had been previously not to form a clade with the rest of Arctocephalus and as a result moved in the genus Arctophoca, are in fact forming a monophyletic clade, supporting the use of Arctocephalus for Australian fur seals.

Lopes, F., Oliveria, L.R., Kessler, A., Beux, Y., Crespo, E., Cardenas-Alayza, S., Majluf, P., Sepulveda, M., Brownell, R.L. Jr., Franco-Trecu, V., Paez-Rosas, D., Chaves, J., Loch, C., Robertson, B.C., Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., Elorriaga-Verplancken, F.R., Kirkman, S.O., Peart, C.R., Wolf, J.B.W. & Bonatto, S. (2020). Phylogenomic discordance in the Eared Seals is best explained by incomplete lineage sorting following explosive radiation in the southern hemisphere. Systematic Biology. https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syaa099

 

New species of bat for WA, Nyctophilus holtorum. A new paper revising Gould’s Long-eared Bat demonstrated that the WA population was distinct both morphologically and molecularly, and as a result, they named the WA population as a new species, Nyctophilus holtorum, or Holt’s Long-eared Bat.

Parnaby, H.E., King, A.G. & Eldridge, M.D.B. (2021). A new bat species from southwestern Western Australia, previously assigned to Gould’s Long-eared Bat Nyctophilus gouldi Tomes, 1858. Records of the Australian Museum 73: 53-66. https://doi.org/10.3853/j.2201-4349.73.2021.1766

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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