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Pedionomidae

Plainswanderer Pedionomus torquatus ©Ian Montgomery Website

The family Pedionomidae consists of just one species…

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

The Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus is an Australian endemic species that has long evoked interest from the world ornithological community.

It is the sole member of the family Pedionomide having no known living relatives. Plains-wanderers superficially resemble buttonquail (Turnix sp.) in that females are larger and more brightly coloured than males and have bright yellow legs and bill and give a low ooming call. However, they are more closely related to plovers and dotterels. Like buttonquail, the male Plains-wanderer does most of the incubation and chick rearing if not all of it. The disparity in size and role reversal of the sexes during breeding is unusual among birds.

Plains-wanderers' prime habitat on the Riverine Plain is the hard, red-brown earths with a sparse covering of native herbs and grasses. Living in such an open environment, Plains-wanderers are vulnerable to predators such as Black Falcons Falco subniger, Brown Falcons Falco berigora and Spotted Harriers Circus assimilis. Their camouflage and cryptic daylight behaviour is their main safeguard. When disturbed at night are less secretive. They rarely fly during the day, however, when they do, their flight is more dipping and uneven than at night, presumably as a defence against raptors. The flight pattern at night is slow and direct, resembling a crake's Porzana spp. with rapid, shallow wingbeats and legs trailing out behind. They are diurnal, feeding on a wide variety of seeds and ground dwelling insects.

In years of average rainfall Plains-wanderers pair up in July, have eggs in August and young in September. However if conditions are wet in August and September they are more likely to successfully produce young in October and November. On two occasions during wet conditions Plains-wanderers have been recorded on raised grass nests about 30 mm off the ground. They will continue to breed through the summer if there have been good rains. Breeding can also occur in autumn, particularly if there has been little success in the spring and summer.

Family Links

Plains-wanderer Pedionomidae

Family Account

Family account…

Plains-wanderer Pedionomidae

Family Account

The plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus) is a bird, the only representative of family Pedionomidae and genus Pedionomus. It is endemic to Australia.

Plains-wanderer Pedionomidae

HBW Family Account

Species Links

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

BirdLife Species Account

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

IUCN Species Status

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Pedionomus torquatus Gould, 1840, plains near Adelaide, South Australia. Identical genus name was originally proposed by same author 31 days earlier for megapode taxon Leipoa, but subsequently became a nomen oblitum; name of present genus and Leipoa have now been formally protected by ICZN. Race goulburni was proposed for populations of New South Wales, but no genuine geographical variation detectable. Monotypic.

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

Species Account

The plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus) is a bird, the only representative of family Pedionomidae and genus Pedionomus. It is endemic to Australia. The majority of the remaining population is found in the Riverina region of New South Wales.

Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Contributor

Philip N. Maher

Australian Ornithological Services Pty Ltd

P.O Box 385 South Yarra, 3141, Victoria Australia

mahert@patash.com.au

http://www.philipmaher.com/main.htm

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 1