Grey Drummer, Kyphosus bigibbus Lacépède 1801

Other Names: Brown Chub, Darkfin Drummer, Grey Chub, Grey Sea Chub, Southern Drummer, Topsail Drummer

A Grey Drummer, Kyphosus bigibbus, at Comets Hole in the Lord Howe Island lagoon, Tasman Sea. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A silvery grey drummer with dark fins and small black spot below the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Kyphosus bigibbus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Grey Drummer, Kyphosus bigibbus Lacépède 1801

More Info


Rottnest Island to the Dampier Archipelago and Scott Reef, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Montague Island, New South Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread and locally abundant worldwide, with an anti-tropical distribution in the Indian and Pacific oceans (north-west Pacific and south Indo-west Pacific, east to Kermadec Islands), also eastern and western Atlantic and eastern Pacific). 
Records from Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, may be misidentifications of Kyphosus vaigiensis or K. sectatrix.
Inhabits shallow coral and rocky reefs, including exposed isolated reefs offshre and around islands. Grey Drummer often occur in the surge zone, at depths to 20 m - sometimes in mixed schools with other drummer species. Juveniles may shelter amongst flotsam are capable of long distance dispersal across vast distances.


Dorsal fin X-XI, 11-13; Anal fin III-IV, 10-12. 


Occasionally the species is uniformly yellow in colour, and rare albino individuals also occur.


Herbivore - grazes on a range of green, brown, and red algae.


A valued food fish throughout its range.

Similar Species

Differs from Kyphosus sectatrix in having a longer anal-fin lobe so that the hind margin of the anal fin is in line with the leading margin of upper caudal-fin lobe. Differs from K. sydneyanus in having smaller scales and a completely dark tail.

Species Citation

Kyphosus bigibbus Lacépède 1801, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 3: 114, pl. 8(1). Type locality: Tôlanaro, Toliara Province, southeastern Madagascar.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Grey Drummer, Kyphosus bigibbus Lacépède 1801


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37361021

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-40 m

Fishing:Recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:75 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map