Seven native and six introduced mammalian species have been recorded in the Katfish Reach area. Native mammal species in the area include the Common brushtail possum, Red kangaroo, Short-beaked echidna, Water rat, Western grey kangaroo and white-striped freetail-bat. Introduced species include the Black rat, Brown harefox, Fox, Cat, House mouse and Rabbit.

Western Grey Kangaroo
Western Grey Kangaroo with joey in pouch (Photo: Bill Doyle).


The reptiles recorded at Katfish Reach include 12 native species, with two of conservation significance, the Broad-shelled Turtle (vulnerable) and Lace Monitor (rare). Other species found in Katfish Reach include Bynoe’s gecko, Common snake-eye, Dwarf skink, Eastern long-neck turtle, Eastern tree skink, Eastern water skink, Marbled gecko, Sand goanna, Sleepy lizard and Tessellated gecko.

Lace Monitor
Lace Monitor (DENR)


There have been five native frog species recorded at Katfish Reach including the Southern Bell Frog (vulnerable species), which is one of the largest frog species in Australia. Other species include the Peron’s Tree Frog, Eastern Sign Bearing Froglet, Western Banjo Frog and Spotted Grass Frog.

Southernbell frog
Southernbell frog


Nine native and four introduced fish species are found within Katfish Reach area, including both large and small fish species. Two of the native species, the Murray Cod and Murray hardyhead, have conservation significance. A third, the silver perch, is protected under the South Australian Fisheries Act, 1982.

Other native species in the area include bony herring, Murray rainbowfish, Australian smelt and flathead gudgeon.

Freshwater Catfish (© MDBA)
Freshwater Catfish (© MDBA)

Native birds

Katfish Reach is home to a huge number of birds, with 158 native and three introduced species recorded. Species of conservation significance include the Australasian Shoveler, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Intermediate Egret, Peregrine Falcon (rare) and the brown Quail (vulnerable).

Yellow Billed Spoonbill (Photo: Michael Harper).

Threatened Species

Katfish Reach is home to a variety of wildlife, some of which are listed as threatened species under national and/or state legislation. Within the area there are two reptiles, one frog and 14 bird species with a threatened rating at state level and one frog and two fish species with a national threatened rating.

Murray Hardyhead

The Murray hardyhead is a small fish, commonly growing up to 40mm to 65mm in size. Found around the margins of lakes, wetlands, backwaters and billabongs, the Murray hardyhead prefers open water, shallow, slow-flowing or still habitats, with sand or silt substrates, but can also be found in deeper habitats with dense aquatic vegetation. The species appears to thrive in ephemeral deflation basin lakes and can survive in highly saline environments.

Increased salinisation, habitat degradation, altered flow regimes, and impacts of alien species are suspected to contribute to the decline of the species. The Murray hardyhead is listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Environment Protect and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 (Murray-Darling Basin Authority 2010).


Southern Bell Frog

The Southern Bell Frog is one of the largest frog species in Australia, reaching up to 104mm in length. Animals vary in colour and pattern, but normally are olive to bright green, with irregular gold, brown, black or bronze spotting.

The animal can be found in both temporary and permanent wetlands along the South Australian River Murray, and also in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Sometimes they can be seen basking in the sun, but most commonly feeding at night, even eating other frogs. They are most active in spring and summer, when the male frog can be heard calling for a mate. Females lay jelly-like egg masses (up to 4000), the tadpoles will metamorphose into frogs in summer or autumn.

The population of this frog has declined throughout Australia, but it remains locally abundant in parts of the South Australian River Murray corridor. The Southern Bell Frog is listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Environment Protect and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 (Department for Environment and natural Resources 2010).

Southern Bell Frog

Regent Parrot

The Regent Parrot can be recognised by their distinctively bright colours. The males are a brilliant golden-yellow with a dark green back, blue-black flight feathers and a red band across the mid-wings. Female birds and juveniles are similarly patterned but are greener around the head and neck.

In Spring they nest in small colonies, of up to 30 pairs, along the River Murray. The female parrots incubates the eggs and sit with the newly hatched chicks while the males flock to search for food. These male feeding flocks can sometimes be seen heading to and from their nests along the river.

During the breeding season Regent Parrots nest in the hollows that occur in mature and dead River Red Gums. From these trees they forage over large areas, up to 12km from their nests. They feed on the seeds, buds, flowers and sometimes on insect larvae.
Regent Parrots need flight corridors of native vegetation that link their nest colonies on the river with good feeding areas such as large intact areas of mallee woodlands.

In the past this parrot was destroyed as an agricultural pest and many nesting and foraging areas were cleared. While destruction of this bird is no longer permitted and the clearance of native vegetation is regulated, the Regent Parrot is still in decline. The Regent Parrot is listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Environment Protect and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999 (Department for Environment and natural Resources 2010).

Regent Parrot