PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID
Australian Bird Maps
ROBERT gALL, C.M.Z.S.
Past President Roy. Austr. Orn. Union
Hon Col. Memb. British Orn. Union
Corr. Fellow American Orn. Union
"A Key to the Birds of Australia"
"The Useful Birds of Southern Australia"
"Nature Studies in Australia" (Joint Author)
THE BOY SCOUTS
THE GIRL GUIDES
With any Profits that may occur
PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR
HOBART, MAY, 1922
Queensland and Northern Territory 23
Areas 1, 2, 3 7 1 , 7 2 , 7 3
New South Wales 71
Areas 3, 47 3 , 7 4
Areas 4, 7 4
South and Central Australia 175
Areas 6, 7
Western Australia 203
Areas 9, 7*; 8, 7 8
INDEX TO MAPS
Bower Bird 78
Coach whip Birds . . . . 26
Cockatoos . . 72, 83, 84, 100
Colour Scheme 2
Diamond Birds 73
Dottrels 47, ,52
Emu . . 15, 69
Fantails 19, 20
Finches, 30, 36, 41, 71, 80,
Geese 44, 67, 98
Grass Warblers 24
Gulls 59, 68
Hawks 6, 70
Honeyeaters, 23, 36, 53, 74,
78, 79, 86, 89
Kookaburra 6, 21
Kingfishers 6, 21
Lyre Birds 32
Magpies 40, 47
Migrations, 7, 8, 28, 29, 31,
33, 34, 35
Mound Builders . . . . 15, 64
Owl . . 6, 53a
Parrots, 18, 41, 53, 72, 75, 83
Penguins . . . . 6, 62. 65, 98
Petrels 42, 62, 68
Pigeons . . . . 16, 17, 37,- 47
Pipit . . . 30, 98
Pittas 10, 11
Races of a Species .... 34
Reefs 8, 9
Rifle Birds 13
Robins . . . . 30, 49, 51, 76
Scrub Birds 49, 50
Size and Colour 5
Snipe 60, 63, 64
Swan 44, 63
Swifts 12, 64
Terns .. 58, 98
Thrushes .. .. 6, 25, 36, 62
Tit Warblers .. . . 4, 77, 88
Water Fowl 64
White-eyes 54, 55
Wrens . . . . 47, 85, 91, 95
Zones . . . 1
ALL the species of Australian birds do not fre-
quent the whole of Australia. Many keep to the
coastal scrubs, several to the hot areas of the north,
and others to the equally dry areas of the south.
Wherever the country conspicuously varies, a ma-
jority of the birds have some agreement with it.
The distribution of the present day species is the
result of definite plans in populating this island-
continent, amongst which we shall not fail to see an
inner ring between central Australia and its coast-
line. This is the collateral zone of pallid species;
offspring of the coastal species. Western Australia
contains the main ends of the great plan (map 89).
The maps stand for the normal distribution of
species and races, each area to be referred to as
e.g. Queensland 3, Queensland 7 3 , etc. Messrs.
Mathews and Iredale have contributed considerably
to our knowledge of species; and sub-species, my
races. Cayley's great work in the press will add
newer ground. The pages of the "Emu" are the
foundation in the making of these maps; and we have
now an attempt at graph values in the natural dis-
tribution of Australian birds.
DESCRIPTION OF PLATES
Maps- Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, 6; Whimbrel, 6;
White-shouldered Caterpillar-eater, 6; White-
rumped Wood Swallow, 8; Tern, 9; White-
shafted Fantail, 19; Restless Flycatcher, 20;
Grass Warbler, 24; Mountain Thrush, 25; White-
throated Tree-creeper, 28 and B2; Harmonious
Shrike Thrush, 30; Ibis, 31; Magpie Lark, 32;
Pied Robin, 34.
Maps White-fronted Chat, 35; Crescent Honey-
eater, 36; Cormorants, 45; Striated Grass Wren,
47; Black-fronted Dottrel, 52; White-eye, 54;
Pectoral Rail, 57; Spotted Crake, 57; Little
Greenshank, 61; Spotted Pardalote, 73; Mous-
tached Honey-eater, 74; Noisy Miner, 74; Bee-
eater, 75 and 7.
Maps White-eared Honey-eater, 78; White-plumed
Honey-eater, 79; White-fronted Scrub Wren, 84;
Superb Warbler (Blue Wren) 85; Brown Fly-
catcher, 90; Ground Wren (Calamanthus) 91;
White-face (Xerophila) 92; Bronze Cuckoo, 93;
Stubble Quail, 93; Pipit, 98; White-browed Bab-
bler, 99; Shrike Tit, 99.
Areas of Distribution.
16, 8, 9, Coastal Zone.
7, Central Zone.
7' 7 9 , Collateral Zone.
Sub-divisional Areas in Red
THE zoogeography of Australia, for all practical
purposes, comes under two heads. It has a
fauna on the northern and eastern coasts in con-
junction, or it extends over the greater portion of
the continent. The climatic conditions are so
slightly variable, yet so many, as to make innumer-
There is the coastal zone map 1, 1 5, 6, 8, 9,
with clearly marked species, while within two
hundred miles of the coast these species begin to
change in shade of colour, and show a collateral
zone (7 1 7 9 ). It is the action of a dry hot
atmosphere on them and their surroundings, giving
an inner circle of bird life; a ring of races.
This second continuous band fuses with and is
parent to the lessened life of Central Australia.
The outer ring 1 6, 8, 9, so far as most of Us land
forms are concerned, appears to have begun its
existence in area 2, on receipt of its early life from
New Guinea. Its extension went outwards 2 to
<i, and 2 to 8. From 4 the birds gradually travelled
to 5 and to 9.
12 AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
Colour and Colour Scheme.
1. Birds of finest colour and plumage (Paradiseidae)
2. The darkest plumaged birds.
3. The palest plumaged birds.
4. Desert tinted with extensions into the central area.
5. A 4,000 mile line of mangrove tidal habitat and
6. Sea birds of the north; aesthetic colour pattern.
7. Sea birds of the south; dull colour pattern.
Along these lines of expansion there are certain
breaks, over which many birds do not pass. The
Hawkesbury River system is one, and Bass Strait
another ; the first of forest foods, the second a water
In the north the birds of area 2 could easily
travel to area 1, after which a break in type of
forest occurs. Many species, however, journeyed
in the region of the North-West Cape (southern
8), and there came to a stand against a desert
Avifaunal areas show difference at once, and
Australia the sub-region is colour stamped. Map
2 presents seven colour groups and colour schemes,
the effect of moist or dry forests, and of variable
In colour sorting of a large collection of birds
from all parts of the continent three ground plans
show. We see the rich metallic sheens of coastal
Queensland and Northern Territory, then the dull
grades of Victorian and Tasmanian coast land, and
very prominently the pale birds of area 3 (map 2).
Finally several ground tints of the varying areas
of country of the great balance of the Common-
wealth can be separated. A million pipits agree in
colour with these different areas of land upon
which they are living.
The colour pattern of the numberless sea birds 4
*An Australian Bird Book, col. pis.; 1911, J. A. Leach, D.Sc.
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
The races of a species.
A B The Species.
A Small Race.
a 2 Darker.
a 4 Western influence on the species.
B Large Race,
b 2 Island dark races in relation with
b 3 Pale race.
b 4 Island Race in relation with b 3 .
b 5 Western race.
b6 South Western race.
along our northern coast is distinctly aesthetic,
when compared with the sombre hues of as many
million petrels that fringe the southern coasts.
Of the birds of Australia there are, say, eight
hundred species with innumerable variations.
Some of these latter may be considered races, and
they are important in the ornis of this land. Take
for example the species A B in map 3. A is the
northern race, because all the thousands of it are
smaller than B, those of the southern half of the
continent. In each case the westward trend has
taken the birds into western influences of food and
air, and has changed their plumages. The colour
pattern will mostly remain, while the intensity of
colour will lessen and alter. This is noticeable in
a 3 of the race A, which comes under the paling
effect of light desert air. A and B so carefully
change in Southern Queensland as to be the inter-
In map 4, species A B is one example with eight
races; Yellow-tailed Tit- Warbler (Acanthiza chry-
sorrhoa). Its southern expansion is a d, and its
western margin e h.
While the birds of the southern line grow larger
and darker, those of the same species of the western
margin grow lighter, with elimination of certain
plumage characters. The first line is in the damp
belt, the second in the dry one, with an effect so
gradual, yet so definite, as to give us birds at a d.
16 AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
An example of many broadly distributed birds with
* races (Yellow-tail Tit- Warbler) .
Species A B Races a- h.
a. Smallest and Palest.
b. c. Intergrades.
d. Largest and Dullest.
e. Lower Murray River 1
f. Port Augusta. ? aces * radms
g. Flinders Range. I *T f rk to
h. Northern Australia. J duU plumage
j. Darker than h, due to moist coastal influence.
h d different in their colour though similar in their
colour scheme. These are parallel lines of plumage
tint, one of which is subject to the darkening
influence of the coastal ranges, and the other to
the tendency directly or by natural selection to
take out colour.
This is the main influence of the salt bush and
other scrub lands between the Cloncurry and
Wakool tracts. The tendency to lose colour from
e to h is checked at j. Here we have the rapidly
changed conditions of a mangrove coast : a portion
of tidal vegetation extending four thousand miles
along the northern fringes (map 2).
This brackish-mud feature is the outer line of
other types of country. In the west, between the
Ashburton and Gascoyne districts, there is an 8
inch annual rainfall, the dry belt extending inland
a thousand miles. This is the barrier to the per-
manent northern species passing into south-west
Australia, and for those of the south going north
to the Kimberley country ; rich in grass and insects.
Such a bird as the bush lark (Mirafra h 1 h* h 3 , map
5) will hold its own in a parched province by
agreeing in colour with its earth. The severe and
varying food conditions of the northern country
between the Ord and Flinders Rivers reacts on the
frame of the bird by reducing it (b in map 5). As
the same species is found south, the body is of
larger proportion. The colour acting in an opposite
18 AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
Some features of Australian Birds.
a. Tasmanian forms are inclined to be larger than
those of the same species on the mainland.
b. Size decreases from south to north in same species,
e.g. Red-browed Finch.
c. Colour increases in intensity from south to north,
e.g. Yellow Robin.
c 1 Eopsaltria australis.
c 2 E. chrysorrhous.
c 3 E. magnirostris.
d. Mountain colours are darker than those of the
same species on the drier interior, e.g. Rufous
breasted Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris).
e. Sunken portion of a continent severing the same
types of birds between f and f, e.g. Bristle bird
g. A desert 8 inch rainfall as a barrier to certain
birds. Birds coloured in keeping with the soil,
e.g. Mirafra h< h 2 h*.
j. A present day connecting link, Nullabor Plain.
direction increases in intensity southward. This
is well shown in the east to west direction, (d map
5), by examining a series of Rufus-breasted
Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris). The moun-
tain chain divides the darker race from the paler
race, the latter being subject to less humidity.
A long stretch of country between the great rift
valley and Eucla is composed of limestone, covered
by salt bush and blue bush. This is a feeble
connecting link, when compared with an earlier
geological age, between the birds of South and
West Australia. The Nullabor Plain, as the
country is known, is the present connecting link
of two avifaunal areas.
The distribution of certain species goes far
beyond Australia. A few are found east in
Polynesia, others north in the Phillipines group,
and a further number, with their close relatives,
in India (a, b, c, map 6). Shown as follows our
birds are :
Land : A. Internal. The thousand species and
races truly Australian A 1 Forest, A 2 Grassed
Plain, A 8 Partial Desert.
B. External. Extra Australian migratory
Sea : C. Vast colonies of petrel and gull families
that rest on the mainland islands and live at sea.
Apart from distribution we have on a large scale,
migration; the coining in from Siberia in Septem-
20 AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
a. Black-cheeked Falcon (F. melanogenys).
a 1 Snipe (Gallinago australis).
a 2 White-rumped Swift (Micropus pacificus).
a 3 Whimbrel (Numenius variegatus).
b. Shrike Thrushes (Colluricincla).
Sacred Kingfisher (Halcyon sanctus).
c. Cuckoo Shrikes (Graucalus).
Grass Owl (Tyto longimembris) not S.W.A.
d. Crested Penguin (E. chrysocome).
Arrows indicate direction of nesting islands.
her of a million birds. They are not truly
Australian, though they live with us during six
months of the year.
The young are reared in Northern Asia, and
brought as far south as Tasmania to get away from
the northern locking up of food.
Apart from this great migrating stream, a 1 a 2 a :j
map 6), there are minor doings in travel as under:
Daily migration : 1. Up and down valleys (New
South Wales). 2. From range to sea (Queens-
Bathic migration : Plains to higher mountains
Partial migration : Annual e.g., Southern Victoria
to Northern New South Wales.
Periodic migration : Subject to droughts and
Accidental migration : Internal and external.
Extra Australian : Within the Australasian Region
e.g., from Port Augusta to New Guinea and
Migration beyond Australia has its reverse side,
as shown in map 7. A truly marvellous silent mass
of life sweeps down from China and Transbaikalia
into the Malay Peninsula and New Guinea after the
summer of the northern hemisphere. This is in
July. Also at that time thousands of southern
Australian birds, wintering in New Guinea, leave
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
A Southern Siberian and Chinese hirds go to
Malay Archipelago "a" to winter (Dec.).
B Southern Australian birds, b 1 , go to Malay
Archipelago, b, to winter (June).
New Guinea to travel south, either to the great
gold-fields of Western Australia, the copper-fields
of South Australia, or the country of the ancient
sea of North-West Victoria. It is in September;
their nesting season.
Next March the numberless flocks will move
north again to New Guinea, just as the Chinese
birds in New Guinea move back to their own plots
in China, to nest.
QUEENSLAND AND NORTHERN
Areas 1, 2, 3 7 1 , 7 2 , 7 3
The State of Queensland is marvellously rich in
shore birds. This is due to its thousand miles of
adjacent coral reef, and good feeding grounds. Sea
birds and waders mass. On land there is a tropical
and an extra tropical fauna, each again being
divided into dry country and coast line faunas
Queensland has a great annual immigration of
birds from Papua, and a large emigration of another
set to Southern Australia. In the Spring and
Autumn, clouds of oversea migratory species pass.
Examples of migration are as follows:
Extra Australian Siberia to Tasmania, annually
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
a. Small forms of southern species b; also the strong-
hold of the finches.
b. Species begin to blend with those of the same
species (larger race) further south.
c. Mountain influences: west (paler): east (darker).
d. Interior and paler species.
e. Migration route to South Australia ^ From
f. Migration route to New South Wales J Papua
g. A vast ocean-reef avifauna.
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 25
Trans-Continental New Guinea to Spencer Gulf,
Annual and regular in the State North and South,
both coastal and inland.
Periodic and irregular West to East in time of
Nomadic in the Western part of the State in times
of minor droughts.
Coastal insular: summer season.
So far as Australia is concerned, luxurious
Queensland has sent over a large number of its
species. Thus population has got to Victoria in
the south, and the Northern Territory in the west.
Out from this right angle a number of desert birds
have gained their origin. They are the Eyrean
species or races, while the coastal birds are the
line of Tasmanian species.
In such a season as the present one, Queensland
is magnificently grassed, and the Grass Finches
multiply to an extent that gives a special feature
to the fauna of the Commonwealth.
A dry spell coming, these great flocks make for
higher ground with water and food. The water
sheds are so arranged in the inner part of the
north-eastern half as to be an asylum for millions
of birds in dry seasons, and to an extent we can
scarcely realise. They come in from the Diamen-
tina, Thomson, Barcoo and Warrego parched
country, sadly worn and needing the change.
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
A Great Coral-reef: approximate limits of its birds.
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 27
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
(Plate 1, Fig. 9)
Innumerable shoals of small brightly-coloured
fish pass in and out of coral reefs, being ever
hunted by larger fish below, and graceful diving
Great flocks of a black looking tern (Anous
stolidus), always on the watch, keep close and ever
active in attack. The wonder is, that little fish
have any peace.
Pelicans, White Reef-Herons, and Ospreys,
however friendly, are intensely hungry things.
Sandpipers, Godwits, Oyster-catchers and Night
Herons are numerous in the landscape. Sandal-
wood is useful to bird and man. While mangrove
fringes the water, the Mangrove Kingfisher gives
pretty movement to it. Thousands of Nutmeg
Pigeons regularly roost in it; and whose monoton-
ous note is broken by the screechings of as many
Lorikeets (Trichoglossus novae-hollandise). The
white pigeons densely "blossom" the mangroves
so as to give a most delightful picture along the
reefs. Usually a Flying Fox is all that sees the
charming sight of a long green belt in feathered
Frigate-Birds, Sooties and Stints know these
atolls and reefs, while the White-rumped Wood
Swallow and Doves from the mainland rest upon
their low herbage, and cocoanut palms. Pandanus
palms also give sanctuary to nesting birds.
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
Affinity of Cape York Peninsula and New Guinea.
a. Blue-breasted Pitta (P. mackloti).
b. Noisy Pitta (P. versicolor).
b 1 Greater N.P. } Southern extension
b 2 Lesser N.P. J of family
c. Rainbow Pitta (P. iris) western extension.
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 29
Along the coral beaches the Sea Terns gather
shells to make the name of nest. Some birds
appear aesthetic enough to gather the more attract-
The northern Gannets are numerous on the sand
banks in spring, where they nest in rookeries.
These are the vegetated coral-sand banks with
growing pig-face, coarse grass, and low shrubs.
If disturbed, thousands of Terns will rise in a
vast flock, leaving more thousands of young upon
the ground. Early in the morning the parent birds
go out to fish as a matter of food supply.
This mass of species is distributed very much
as shown in Map 9. The strait between the islands
of Bali and Lombok is not a barrier to sea birds
as it has proved with land birds.
AFFINITY OF CAPE YORK PENINSULA
AND NEW GUINEA
(Plate 1, Fig. 31; Plate 2, Fig. 7)
New Guinea is an island of more than ordinary
interest, because of its position and mountain
Eucalyptus forests stamp it as partly Australian
and Birds of Paradise connect it with Cape York.
New Guinea has so large a list of wonderful
birds as to be a little world in itself. When one
considers the rich river flats, the hill slopes covered
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
New Guinea the birth-place of Australian
Ant-Thrushes (Pittidae): and broken dis-
tribution of the family.
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 31
by very varied vegetarian, and the snow capped
ranges, it is readily judged to contain most inter-
esting things in feathered life.
There are representatives of the Cassowary of
Queensland, and there are the zoologically famous
Australian mound building birds and the Sun birds.
It abounds in colour and picturesque form, and
is filled with the species of economic value that a
country rich in vegetable products needs.
Certain of these useful birds pass backwards and
forwards between Papua and Cape York Penin-
sula. There is the White Ibis, closely related to
the Egyptian species, and the Spoonbill.
There are the Topknot and Nutmeg Pigeons,
Bee-eater, Drongo Shrike, Channel-bill Cuckoo,
the Black Cuckoo (Eudynamis) and the elegant
White-tailed Kingfisher that nests in ant hillocks.
Pigeons feed largely on the fruits of the native
fig. They are to be heard in the higher branches,
though scarcely seen through the tangle of the
under foliage. Thousands of birds on the ground
beneath this leafy dome of thousands of acres make
it their daily business to collect the fruits the
"wasteful" pigeons drop. It is a world above a
world, or a feathered stratum densely living above
a ground stratum, equally alive and without much
knowledge of its fellow. The law of mutual aid
unconsciously is applied.
The Pittas or ant thrushes are amongst the most
finely coloured tropic birds, and map 1 (a) indicates
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
Distribution of Australian Swifts (A).
a 1 Nesting ground of Fork-tailed Swift (Micropus
a 2 Nesting ground of Spine-tailed Swift (C. cauda-
a 3 Winter home of a 1 and a 2 .
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 33
Papua as the recent birth-place of the Australian
WIDE DISTRIBUTION OF A FAMILY
In maps 1 and 11 we have a highly coloured and
dense forest family, very broadly distributed along
The Blue-breasted Pitta is common to New
Guinea and Cape York Peninsula, keeping to the
hot- rich, vine-scrub, feeding on shell snails and
The Rainbow and Noisy Pittas have their dis-
tribution as in Map 10.
The ant thrushes are a very old family judging
by their dissimilarity of colour in Australia and by
their isolation in West Africa. It is a little difficult
to link Africa with India, and get the continuity.
We have a similar case of a blue jay in Eastern
Asia being practically the same as the one in
Western Europe with no blue jay between. There
is also the case of the Bristle-Birds in Southern
Australia. Probably in all cases the original
stock disappeared leaving the blank and the arms.
The pittas in Australia are the latest extension
from their birth-place in New Guinea.
Dense, hot, moist cane brakes are what the
family prefer, and the tangle is almost impene-
There are some fifty known species of which we
AUSTRALIAN BIRD MAPS
A Australian Starling (Aplonis metallica) Moluccas
B Rifle birds.
b 1 Magnificent Rifle Bird (P. magnifica).
b 2 Victoria Rifle Bird (P. victoriae).
b 3 The Rifle Bird (P. paradisea).
QUEENSLAND and NORTHERN TERRITORY 35
have four in Australia, and the colours throughout
the family are blue, green, vivid scarlet, yellow,
purple, black and white.
DISTRIBUTION OF SWIFTS AND
SWIFTLETS IN AUSTRALIA
Tasmania is the southern limit and winter home
of two species of swifts (map 12). Of these the
"fork-tail" nests in Yakutsk, the centre of the
extensive fur trade of central Siberia, while the
"spine-tail" nests in Japan, Manchuria and Chosan
The swiftlets live mostly in the Malay Archi-
pelago about the Gulf of Carpentaria and the north-
eastern coast of Queensland. Convergent evolution
applies to swifts and swallows, while an examina-
tion of the hand and arm of each shows them not
to be at all related. The swift has a long hand