Grey Grasswren Amytornis barbatus


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be rare in Queensland and South Australia and vulnerable in New South Wales (Higgins et al. 2001). The nominate barbatus may number c.15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Distribution and population

This species is found in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, Australia. Nominate barbatus has a restricted distribution of c.100 km2 on the floodplain of the Bulloo River on the New South Wales-Queensland border. Subspecies diamantina is found in the Lake Eyre Basin, south-western Queensland and north-eastern South Australia.


Cattle grazing is considered a threat, particularly in dry years, but stock numbers have probably been higher in the past. Diversion of water from the Bulloo River may be a threat in the future but is not currently planned (Garnett and Crowley 2000). Though subspecies diamantina's habitat of swampy shrubland is fragmented, it is extensive, and does not appear to have been degraded by pastoralism, the primary land-use (Garnett 1992).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M., Fisher, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Amytornis barbatus. Downloaded from on 27/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/11/2022.