Gondwana Rainforest Fauna

Gondwana rainforest has a rich and diverse fauna – for some groups the most diverse in Australia. More than 20 vertebrate species have the major part of their distribution in the Gondwana rainforest while numerous invertebrates are confined solely to the Gondwana forest.

Birds

The Gondwana rainforest area has one of the greatest diversities of avifauna of any area in Australia. More than 270 species have been recorded from nominated sites including 175 genera and 71 families. This represents about 38 per cent of Australia bird species and 85 per cent of the families. At least 70 species use rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest and about 30 species are essentially confined to these habitats.

Of particular importance among avifauna are the Albert's Lyrebird (Menuri alberti) and the Superb Lyrebird (M. novaehollandiae) and the Rufous scrub- bird (Atrichornis rufescens) the lyrebirds and the scrub-birds are both families that have only two species and endemic to Australia.

Another species considered to be vulnerable to extinction ... is the Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus). It is known to occur at very few sites. Their habitat is a mosaic of open forest with grassy native sorghum (breeding and feeding sites) and rainforest (refuges).

It has been noted that the saddle between east and west peaks of Mt Barney (5Km from the Retreat) is the only place where one can hear in the one place the Eastern Bristlebird the Rufous Scrub-bird and Albert's Lyrebird all close by.

Frogs

Some 45 frog species have been recorded in the Gondwana rainforest representing 25 per cent of the total frog fauna of Australia. One of the most significant species in is the Hip-pocket frog (Assa darlingtoni) also called the Marsupial Frog or pouched Frog. This species raises its tadpoles in bilateral skin pouches on the hips of the males.

Reptiles

The Gondwana rainforest provides habitat for about 110 species of reptiles.

Several species have a major part of their distribution within the rainforest and wet sclerophyll forests. Among the most striking of the reptiles is the Southern Angle-headed Dragon (Gonocephalus spinipes). It has a lichen-patterned skin and can change its color to match its environment.

Mammals

The Gondwana rainforest region has one of the most diverse mammal faunas in Australia exceeded only by the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in North Queensland. A total of seventy-four species or thirty per cent of Australia's terrestrial mammals have been recorded from the Gondwana Rainforest including two species on monotremes, thirty-two marsupial species, thirty bat species and ten species of rodent. At least thirty species inhabit the Gondwana Rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest of which at least one third are largely confined to these habitats.

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