Family Plains-wanderer (Pedionomidae)

Critically Endangered

Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus)


French: Pédionome errant German: Steppenläufer Spanish: Llanero

Pedionomus torquatus


, 1840,

plains near Adelaide, South Australia


Identical genus name was originally proposed by same author 31 days earlier for megapode taxon Leipoa, but subsequently became a nomen oblitum; name of present genus and Leipoa have now been formally protected by ICZN#R#R. Race goulburni was proposed for populations of New South Wales, but no genuine geographical variation detectable. Monotypic.


Inland E Australia (NC Victoria, CS New South Wales, NE South Australia and WC Queensland).

Descriptive notes

15–19 cm; male 39–78 g, female 57–95 g. Resembles Coturnix quails, but bill finer, neck and legs longer, and overall appearance lankier; two ... read more


Few recordings apparently available. Most obvious is a repeated, low-pitched, somewhat dove-like,... read more


Sparse lowland native grasslands with low-growing herbs, especially Stipa, Danthonia... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Insects and spiders comprise nearly half annual diet, although percentage varies seasonally; seeds of grass, chenopods and... read more


In SE, first clutches from late Aug to Nov, second clutches in Jan–Feb if summer rains fall; further N breeding occurs Mar–Jun... read more


Sedentary, as demonstrated by radio-tracking and ringing studies, unless displaced by changes to... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Population estimated in 2011 at c. 2000 mature individuals and decreasing. Since then, significant declines have been reported in Victoria... read more

Recommended citation

Baker-Gabb, D.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 February 2020).