Silver Drummer, Kyphosus sydneyanus (Günther 1886)

Other Names: Buff Bream, Buffalo Bream, Buffs, Common Buffalo Bream, Drummer Bream, Southern Silver Drummer, Sydney Drummer

A Silver Drummer, Kyphosus sydneyanus, at Fairy Bower, Manly, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. Source: Richard Ling / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives


A large olive, silvery-grey or bronzy drummer, darker above, paler below, with a broad dark margin on the caudal fin, a rusty-coloured bar from the upper jaw across the gill cover, a pale bar under the eye and a small black spot at the lower edge of the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Kyphosus sydneyanus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Silver Drummer, Kyphosus sydneyanus (Günther 1886)

More Info


Widespread in the southern half of Australia from about Fraser Island, Queensland, to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in northern New Zealand.
The species may also occur at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. 
Inhabits exposed coastal rocky reefs, often in large schools in the surge zone. 


Herbivore - feeds on algae.


The Silver Drummer is a popular angling fish and is regarded as a tough fighter. However, it is considered by most people to be inedible.


Silver Drummer are easily confused with Kyphosus bigibbus. Records of Silver Drummer from north of the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, and from the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, are misidentifications of Kyphosus bigibbus. Records from Lord Howe Island may be based on more than one species, and Silver Drummer may occur there.


The name sydneyanus is from Port Jackson, the type locality.

Species Citation

Pimelepterus sydneyanus Günther, 1886,  Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 5 18(36): 368. Type locality: Port Jackson, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Silver Drummer, Kyphosus sydneyanus (Günther 1886)


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Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Günther, A. 1886. Note on Pachymetopon and the Australian species of Pimelepterus. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 5 18(36): 367-368 (described as Pimelepterus sydneyanus)

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

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Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270.

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

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Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

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Ogilby, J.D. 1887. On an undescribed Pimelepterus from Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1886: 539-540 (described as Pimelepterus meridionalis)

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Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 2006. Taxonomic reviews of two Indo-Pacific sea chubs, Kyphosus cinerascens (Forsskål, 1775) and Kyphosus sydneyanus (Günther, 1886). Ichthyological Research 53(4): 337-356.

Scott, E.O.G. 1971. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 18. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 105: 119-143 fig. 1 (described as Kyphosus diemenensis)

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Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (as Segutilum sydneyanus)

Whitley, G.P. 1938. A new Stromateiform fish from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 6(2): 159-162 pl 16 (described as Cridorsa moonta)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37361001

Behaviour:Sports fish, poor eating

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:80 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map