Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Geographical distribution of land birds in Australia - A numerical analysis

J. Kikkawa and K Pearse

Australian Journal of Zoology 17(5) 821 - 840
Published: 1969


The divisive information analysis was used for the hierarchical classifications of faunal areas and faunal elements of Australia from the distribution of 464 species of land birds at 121 selected sites. The faunal areas are delimited from the classification of the sites in terms of the distributions of species, superspecies, genera, and polytypic genera, separately. For the classification of faunal elements only species groups and genera groups were used. The derived faunal areas produced concentric zonation showing remarkable resemblances to the faunal subdivisions proposed by earlier workers who used intuitive methods for the classification. This demonstrates empirically the applicability of the numerical method to zoogeography. Comparison between the species pattern and the genera pattern of distribution suggests the Kimberley line as the oldest barrier separating the central fauna from the northern fauna. This is followed by the barriers separating the faunas of Tasmania, the south-west, and the north-east respectively, in order of increasing recency. In the distribution of species, new terms of reference are proposed to denote the faunal areas and the species groups characterizing the areas.

© CSIRO 1969

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