Deserts Shrublands & Grasslands
(Mulga & Spinifex)

The vast arid lands of Australia...

the author made to feel small in the expansive salt flats

Much of the arid land of Australia is dominated by bunches of prickly grass called 'Spinifex'. Over long periods of time, weathering and oxidisation has resulted in distinctive bright orange-red soils...

that red sand gets everywhere. Just ask Anakin.

For the page of the Plants of Australian desert shrublands and grasslands.

Class Reptilia

Order Squamata: Lizards & Snakes

There is one group that is very diverse in these arid habitats of Australia - lizards! In fact, there are claims that some of the dry habitats in Australia, such as the Spinifex grasslands, have the highest diversity of lizards in the world. However, this does not mean you will see lots of them; in the winter they may be scarce, and in the summer, they run fast and take shelter inside and under the prickly grasses.

Family Agamidae: Dragons

Many of the dragons of the region seem to have annual cycles, only living for one year.

Ctenophorus caudicinctus, 'Western Ring-tail Dragon' (Millstream). Found in arid shrublands and sub-tropical woodlands of central west of Australia, mostly around Pilbara region.

Class Aves: Birds

While the diversity of birds in the Australian arid areas is not high compared to the other habitats on the continent, and the equivalent arid areas of Africa, there are many interesting species to be found...

Family Orioicidae

Oreoica gutturalis, 'Crested Bellbird' (Nallan Station). One of the birds most distinctive of the Australian arid habitats. The black bib and bright orange eye are distinct features of the male. They are usually seen hopping along the ground between mulga bushes, where they apparently feed on insects and seeds. Their call is one of central Australia's most evocative and far-carrying; a repetitive and slightly honking morse code; the first two notes slow, and the following three much quicker. Often, the male and female do a duet, with the male making this previous call, and the female accenting the last notes with her more honking bell like notes.

Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? One of the first expeditions I am booked to work on is the NZ sub-Antarctics with Silversea Expeditions and Australia with Coral Expeditions. And here is a shortened version of one of my lectures in a warmer part of the world.