Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Pedionomus torquatus
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pedionomus torquatus
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Date Listed: 06/04/1973
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10)
Where Listed: Entire
Population location: Entire
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Pedionomus torquatus, see its USFWS Species Profile
Management actions completed or underway include extensive surveys in New South Wales, Victoria and south-east South Australia, detailed research on habitat requirements, recovery planning in New South Wales and Victoria, and incorporation of habitat in the protected-areas estate in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Locust control spraying is now regulated in the species's habitat. Conservation Actions Proposed
Refine population estimates in Queensland and northern South Australia. Monitor populations and habitat condition, and provide feedback to land-holders. Survey for suitable habitat in New South Wales and Queensland and identify areas of high conservation value for the species. Determine the effects of locust control. Purchase a reserve in the Riverina of over 200 km2. Negotiate refuge areas, ensuring Plains-wanderer habitat is not cultivated, has a 2 km buffer from cultivated land wherever possible, is not overgrazed during drought and is integrated into a regional conservation plan (Garnett et al. 2011). Continue to advocate the use of Green Guard® biological control agent for locust control in Plains-wanderer habitat (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002). Establish a recovery team.
The plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus) or plains wanderer, is a bird, the only representative of its family. It is endemic to Australia. The majority of the remaining population are found in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
The plains-wanderer is a quail-like ground bird, measuring 15–19 cm. It is such an atypical bird that it is placed in a entire family of its own, Pedionomidae. The adult male is light brown above, with fawn-white underparts with black crescents. The adult female is substantially larger than the males, and has a distinctive white-spotted black collar. They are excellent camouflagers, and will first hide at any disturbance. If they're approached too close, they will run as opposed to flying, which they are very poor at. Females lay four eggs, which the male then incubates.
It was formerly believed to be related to the buttonquails and thus placed in the gamebird order Galliformes or with the cranes and rails in Gruiformes. DNA-DNA hybridization and RAG-1 sequence data places it as a wader related to the jacanas (Sibley & Ahlquist 1990, Paton et al. 2003, Thomas et al. 2004, van Tuinen et al. 2004). It thus represents a remarkable case of morphological convergence, or perhaps it is simply extremely plesiomorphic in morphology (the buttonquails, meanwhile, having turned out to be a very basal offshoot of the wader radiation). In the latter case, this would mean that the jacanas, painted snipe and seedsnipes – all ecologically very different birds – all evolved from birds very similar to the living plains-wanderer.
Status and conservation
Population decline has been caused by the conversion of native grasslands to cultivation. Sites identified by BirdLife International as being important for plains-wanderer conservation are Boolcoomatta, Bindarrah and Kalkaroo Stations in north-eastern South Australia, Diamantina and Astrebla Grasslands in western Queensland, Patho Plains in northern Victoria and the Riverina Plains in New South Wales.
This bird is listed as an endangered species on the 2007 IUCN Red List.
Plains-wanderers are listed as vulnerable on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC). Their conservation status also varies from state to state within Australia. For example:
- The plains-wanderer is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has been prepared.
- The plains-wanderer is listed as endangered on Schedule 1 of the 'Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).
The plains-wanderer is likely to change status to nationally endangered under the EPBC Act 1999.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Pedionomus torquatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Archibald, George W. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. p. 101. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
- "Plains-wanderer". Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
- Department of Sustainability and Environment - information on status
- Department of Sustainability and Environment - Action Statement
- Paton, T. A.; Baker, A. J.; Groth, J. G. & Barrowclough, G. F. (2003): RAG-1 sequences resolve phylogenetic relationships within charadriiform birds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29: 268-278. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(03)00098-8 PMID 13678682 (HTML abstract)
- Sibley, Charles Gald & Ahlquist, Jon Edward (1990): Phylogeny and classification of birds. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
- Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A. & Székely, Tamás (2004): A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. BMC Evol. Biol. 4: 28. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-28 PMID 15329156 PDF fulltext Supplementary Material
- van Tuinen, Marcel; Waterhouse, David & Dyke, Gareth J. (2004): Avian molecular systematics on the rebound: a fresh look at modern shorebird phylogenetic relationships. Journal of Avian Biology 35(3): 191-194. PDF fulltext
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