Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 2 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2022) (updated November 2022) 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 2022 November 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 (2022) 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 2022 (updated November 2022)


Reptiles and frogs


Change of generic name to four nest-brooding Geocrinia species. The name Anstisia gen. nov. was proposed for the four former Geocrinia species that occur in the southwest; now – A. alba, A. lutea, A. rosea and A. vitellina. The only member of Geocrinia in WA is now G. leai (with two species in south-eastern Australia).


Webster, G.N. & Bool, I. (2022). A new genus for four myobatrachid frogs from the South Western Australian Ecoregion. Zootaxa 5154: 127–151.


Synonymy of Uperoleia inundata. A molecular and morphological analysis on the U. borealis species group revealed that U. crassa in the Kimberley region is a relatively recent invasion from populations of U. inundata from the Top End of the Northern Territory. The findings suggest that the calls of U. crassa in the Kimberley have diverged from the Top End because in the Kimberley U. borealis is also present, hence the evolution of fewer pulses to avoid mis-mating. Uperoleia inundata was synynomised with U. crassa to reflect the lack of morphological and molecular differentiation.


Jaya, F.R.Tanner, J.C., Whitehead, M.R., Doughty, P., Keogh, J.S., Moritz, C.C. & Catullo, R.A. (2022). Landscape genomics and sexual signals support reproductive character displacement in Uperoleia (Anura: Myobatrachidae). Molecular Ecology 31: 4527–4543.


Formal synonymy of two Lerista species published by Storr in 1991. Despite most of herpetology following a 2000 checklist that mentioned synonymy of Lerista maculosa and L. talpina, the paper that checklist referred to was never published. This short paper formally synonymises these two species.


Aplin, K.P., Cowan, M.A. & Doughty, P. (2022). Synonymy of two west coast Lerista (Reptilia: Scincidae) species. Records of the Western Australian Museum 37: 22–25. https://doi:10.18195/issn.0312-3162.37.2022.022-025


A new species of Ctenotus skink. The molecular analysis of Prates et al. (2022) on Ctenotus schomburgkii revealed a cryptic, sympatric species within it. The new species, C. kutjupa, is know from very few specimens yet has a large distribution in the arid zone.


Prates, I., Hutchinson, M.N., Huey, J.A., Hillyer, M.J. & Rabosky, D.L. (2022). A new lizard species (Scincidae: Ctenotus) highlights persistent knowledge gaps on the biodiversity of Australia’s central deserts. Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists 1(2):8720 (18 pp).


Addition of Ctenotus superciliaris. This was an oversight to not list this new species of Ctenotus from the Kimberley region in Rabosky et al. (2014), despite the controversial and generally unaccepted synonymy of many species of Ctenotus described by Storr into C. inornatus (i.e. helenae, severus, saxatilis, brachyonnyx, fallens).


Elevation of Varanus storri subspecies to full species. A review of the Varanus acanthurus species group by Pavón-Vázquez et al. (2022) found that V. storri ocreatus was outside of the V. acanthurus group. This necessitated raising both subspecies to full species. Hence V. s. storri from WA is now raised to full species. No other findings impacted WA Varanus taxonomy.


Pavón-Vázquez, C.J., Esquerré, D., Fitch, A.J., Maryan, B., Doughty, P., Donnellan, S.C., & Keogh, J.S. (2022). Between a rock and a dry place: phylogenomics, biogeography, and systematics of ridge-tailed monitors (Squamata: Varanidae: Varanus acanthurus complex). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 173: 107516.


Synonymy of the subspecies of Ctenotus pantherinus. A molecular and morphological study of the C. pantherinus subspecies failed to recover consistent differences among subspecies. Accordingly, C. p. acripes, C. p. calx and C. p. ocellifer have been synonymised into C. pantherinus (with no subspecies).


Prates, I., Doughty, P. & Rabosky, D.L. (2022). Subspecies at the crossroads: The evolutionary significance of genomic and phenotypic variation in Australia’s wide-ranging Leopard Skink. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society XX: zlac076


The threatened species status has also been updated with Lerista praefrontalis now listed as P1, and Crocodylus porosus listed as migratory.



Minor changes and amendments to the previous checklists (May 2022) have been carried out with reference mainly to the International Ornithological Committee (IOC checklist Version 12.2). A brief explanation is provided for changes. 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

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica anadyrensis added – confirmed visiting northwest WA via satellite tracking ref. Chan et al. (2022).

Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis antipodensis added – photographed off WA south coast 2021-2022.

IOC has accepted split of MacGillivray’s Prion from Salvin’s Prion based on bill morphology and other more subtle morphological differences ref. Harrison et al. (2021) and Masello et al. (2022).

Cook's Petrel Pterodroma cookii comment amended to read: One photographed at Bremer Canyon, off Bremer Bay, February 2020.

Pycroft's Petrel Pterodroma pycrofti added – one photographed at Bremer Canyon, off Bremer Bay, February 2018.

Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus added – dead bird found near Broome, December 2020.

Eastern Osprey Pandion haliaetus cristatus was formerly treated by OIC as a full species and is now re-lumped based on low genetic divergence and absence of strong morphological differences (Monti et al. 2015, 2018) – no change to WA Museum checklist as was not formerly recognised as a full species.

Following IOC, Campbell Island Albatross added as full species, Baudin's Cockatoo and Carnaby's Cockatoo are moved to the genus Zanda, Silver Gull and Black-headed Gull to the genus Chroicocephalus, and the Laughing Gull and Franklin’s Gull to the genus Leucophaeus. Diomedea epomophora added following vulnerable listing in WA.


Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands checklist

Vernacular for Ninox natalis amended from Christmas Island Hawk-Owl to Christmas Island Boobook.


The threatened species status has also been updated with Ardenna carneipes as vulnerable, Calidris canutus as endandered, Calidris ferruginea and C. tenuirostris as critically endangered, Charadrius leschenaultii as vulnerable, Charadrius mongolus as endangered, Diomedea amsterdamensis and D. dabbenena as critically endangered, Diomedea antipodensis as migratory, Diomedea sanfordi as endangered, and D. epomophora and D. exulans as vulnerable, Numenius madagascariensis as critically endangered, Phoebetria fusca as endangered, Procellaria aequinoctialis as vulnerable, Sterna paradisaea as migratory, Thalassarche carteri and T. melanophris as engandered, Thalassarche cauta cauta, T. c. steadi, T. chlororhynchos, T. chrysostoma, T. impavida, T. salvini as vulnerable.



Minor changes has been made to align with the AMTC (Australasian Mammal Taxonomy Consortium: including changing Sminthopsis fuliginosus fuliginosus to Sminthopsis fuliginosa fuliginosa (The species and subspecies epithet are adjectival and need to match (feminine) gender of genus), Canis familiaris dingo to Canis familiaris (no subspecies distinction between dingoes and dogs) and removing Zaglossus bruijnii from the list.

The threatened species status has also been updated. This includes listing Neophoca cinerea as endangered, Macroderma gigas as vulnerable, and several marine mammals listed as migratory.


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