Hi Tony & Birding Aussers,
I was interested in your quest for Australia's most commonly reported
species and so I had a look at the Atlas data. I have included 2 tables,
the first shows the most frequently reported species in the old and new
atlases. The Magpie comes out top in both atlases, reflecting its
distinctiveness as well as its abundance. However, the Magpie doesn't occur
in the north of NT and the top of Cape York, and is scarce in the Tanami
and Great Sandy Deserts and so isn't the most widespread.
NEW ATLASOLD ATLAS
1Australian MagpieAustralian Magpie
2Willie WagtailWillie Wagtail
5Welcome SwallowBlack-faced Cuckoo-Shrike
7Grey Shrike-thrushWhite-faced Heron
8Laughing KookaburraLaughing Kookaburra
9Superb Fairy-wrenNankeen Kestrel
10Australian RavenCommon Starling
15Pacific Black Duck
The second table shows the number of one degree grids in which a species
has been recorded from the old and new atlas (approx 820 grids cover
Australia). I'm afraid Tony, the White-winged Fairy-wren comes in a lowly
76th, from the Atlas data. Nationally, the most commonly reported bird is
the Magpie, while the most widespread species appears to be the Willie
Wagtail, though in both atlases, there was very little between the top 4
species. A full list is available to anyone who would like it.
NEW ATLASOLD ATLAS
Species nameNo of gridsSpecies nameNo of grids
1Willie Wagtail760Brown Falcon769
2Nankeen Kestrel756Nankeen Kestrel768
3Brown Falcon755Willie Wagtail762
4Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike755Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike756
5Rufous Whistler701Richard's Pipit720
10Australian Magpie667Black-faced Woodswallow672
Moving onto the most numerous species in Australia, I'd guess at perhaps
Galah or even Short-tailed Shearwater!
At 01:24 PM 26/06/2003 +1000, you wrote:
On a nationwide scale I would vote for Australian Magpie Lark, Black-faced
Cuckoo Shrike, Australian Magpie or Willie Wagtail (I prefer Glenn Holmes
suggested common name Ground Fantail, but lets not open that 'can of worms'
While on the subject of the most common birds. I recall somewhere that
someone once said that the most common bird in Australia is White-winged
Fairy Wren as it has a huge range, i.e. a habitat preference that covers
most of Australia and is very common almost anywhere with Saltbush, Spinifex
and the like. Not sure that I agree but the concept sounds convincing.
Perhaps Andrew from Birds Australia could give us the answer.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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