The Australo-Papuan bird migration system: another consequence of Wallace's Line
104(2) 95 - 108
Published: 23 June 2004
With respect to its avian migrants, Australo-Papua is a largely self-contained region. Only some 30 species of shorebird and 10 species of land bird migrate from Asia to Australo-Papua to winter. Possible factors precluding migration of Asian birds include long over-water distances and lack of suitable habitats in Australia or New Guinea. Whether evolved within the region or descended from Asian relatives, Australasian species all confine their migratory movements east of Wallace's Line. The most likely factors restricting migration to the region are climate and habitat. The open forests and arid habitats of Australasia are absent from south-east Asia, so there is little, if any, selection promoting extra-regional migration. The arid or semi-arid but otherwise mild climates of much of Australia favour partial migration and widely varying movement patterns and pathways, although with an underlying north to south component. Movements also occur between mainland Australia and New Guinea and Tasmania. The restriction of migration within Australo-Papua and the high variability of migratory pathways have important implications for the ecology and evolution of the Australasian avifauna.
Full text doi:10.1071/MU03026
© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2004