Vertebrate Fauna: a Survey of Australia’s Oldest National Park and Adjoining Reserves

Martin Schulz, Elizabeth Magarey

Abstract


This study compiles an inventory of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in Royal National Park, Garawarra State Conservation Area and Heathcote National Park. It investigates patterns of species occurrence and puts the results into a regional context. Systematic and targeted field surveys were undertaken and previously existing data were reviewed. The surveys detected 283 species. This high species richness can be attributed to the diversity of habitats present. The Rainforests and Heathlands vegetation formations each support a distinct suite of fauna, while many species only occur on the ocean and/or estuarine shoreline. Rainforests and Heathlands have a restricted distribution in the Sydney basin, and in that context the reserves support large numbers of heath-dependant fauna species. The reserves also have relatively high numbers of at least five threatened species. The field surveys detected seven species not previously documented, including Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus) and eastern grass owl (Tyto longimembris). Also notable is the discovery of roosts of eastern horseshoe-bat (Rhinolophus megaphyllus) and little bent-wing-bat (Miniopterus australis). However, many species previously known from the reserves could not be found, such as ground parrot (Pezoporus wallicus), green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), parma wallaby (Macropus parma) and platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus).

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