Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus


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. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
A2ac A2ac; C2a(ii) A2ac; C2a(i,ii); D1

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2017 Critically Endangered A2ac
2016 Endangered C2a(ii)
2012 Endangered C2a(ii)
2008 Endangered C2a(ii)
2007 Endangered
2006 Endangered
2004 Endangered
2000 Endangered
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

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

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 526,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 250-999 medium estimated 2000
Population trend Decreasing medium estimated -
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 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7.3 - - -

Population justification: The population is estimated to vary from between 5,500–7,000 in good years to around 2,000 birds during periods of widespread drought (Baker-Gabb 2002, Garnett et al. 2011). Regular monitoring has recorded a >90% decline in the species’s Victorian stronghold between 2010 and 2015 (Baker-Gabb et al. 2016), and a 93% decline between 2001 and 2014 in its other stronghold in NSW (Wilson et al. 2014).  The TSSC (2015) estimated the total number of mature individuals of Plains-wanderers to be < 1,000 birds in 2015, and so the population size is placed here in the range 250-999 mature individuals.

Trend justification:

A decline of >90% has been detected in the past decade in both of its strongholds, the Riverina of New South Wales and north-central Victoria, due to cultivation, and inappropriate grazing of natural grassland and climatic events (TSSC 2015). The total decline over the past 3 generations (c.22 years) is not known, and as the species will move away from unsuitable areas, part of these reported declines could represent the species moving to new, as yet unfound, sites. However, in the absence of any evidence for this species moving to new areas, the rate of decline in this species may be conservatively suspected to be >80% over the past 3 generations and so is placed here in the range 80-99%.

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 Riverina Plains
Australia Boolcoomatta, Bindarrah and Kalkaroo Stations
Australia Diamantina and Astrebla Grasslands
Australia Patho Plains

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Grassland Temperate major resident
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Vulpes vulpes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Pedionomus torquatus. Downloaded from on 22/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/05/2022.