Kalkadoon Grasswren Amytornis ballarae


Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
C2a(ii) C2a(i,ii); D C2a(i,ii); D1

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Vulnerable C2a(ii)
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Not Recognised
2004 Not Recognised
2000 Not Recognised
1994 Not Recognised
1988 Not Recognised
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 45,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 220-12000, 9000-9999 poor estimated 2020
Population trend Decreasing poor inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -

Population justification: Assuming breeding territories of an area of 2 km2 (Harrington et al. 2017), the population of A. ballarae is estimated at 220–11,000 mature individuals based on a density estimate of one mature individual per 1 km2. The upper limit of the population size is based on the area of good habitat within the EOO, the lower limit by the number of 2x2 km squares in which the species has been recorded since 1990, although some of these are no longer occupied (Stoetzel et al. 2021). The former value is considered to be more accurate since large areas of this species’ range have not been surveyed, although it is highly unlikely 100% of this area is occupied; the best estimate is consequently placed at 9,000-9,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification:

All data from Stoetzel et al. (2021). In the north of the species’ range, where monitoring has been regular, the proportion of successful surveys has declined from 13%–32% in 2008–2009 to 3%–6% in 2017–2019, probably related to severe fires in 2011–2012 because the proportion of successful surveys in 2013 was 1.4%. Of the 38 monitored sites with birds present in 2008–2009, the species has been recorded at only 13 since 2013. Severe fires in 2011–2012 appears to have caused a 13% contraction in EOO from the north since 2008–2009. Although there have been few late-season fires since, extreme fire weather driven by longer and more severe droughts mean this species is projected to decline further in the future.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia Buckley River
Australia Fountain Springs

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) major resident
Altitude 100 - 551 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Felis catus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Amytornis ballarae. Downloaded from on 01/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/10/2022.