Nature conservation

Threatened species

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Petrogale penicillata
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Gazetted date: 04 Jul 2003
Profile last updated: 19 Feb 2024


The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby has a characteristic, long and bushy, dark rufous-brown tail that is bushier towards its tip. It has long, thick, brown body-fur that tends to be rufous on the rump and greyer on the shoulders. The fur on its chest and belly are paler, and some individuals have a white blaze on their chest. It also has a characteristic white cheek-stripe and a black stripe from its forehead to the back of its head. The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby is highly agile and can move swiftly and confidently through rugged and precipitous areas. This agility is attributed to their compact, muscular build, their long and flexible tail that is used for balance and their well padded and rough textured feet that provide excellent traction. The average weight of this species is about 8 kg for males and 6 kg for females.


The range of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby extends from south-east Queensland to the Grampians in western Victoria, roughly following the line of the Great Dividing Range. However the distribution of the species across its original range has declined significantly in the west and south and has become more fragmented. In NSW they occur from the Queensland border in the north to the Shoalhaven in the south, with the population in the Warrumbungle Ranges being the western limit.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occupy rocky escarpments, outcrops and cliffs with a preference for complex structures with fissures, caves and ledges, often facing north.
  • Shelter or bask during the day in rock crevices, caves and overhangs and are most active at night when foraging.
  • Browse on vegetation in and adjacent to rocky areas eating grasses and forbs as well as the foliage and fruits of shrubs and trees.
  • Highly territorial and have strong site fidelity with an average home range size of about 15 ha. Males tend to have larger home ranges than females.
  • The home range consists of a refuge area and a foraging range linked by habitually used commuting routes.
  • Females settle in or near their mother's range, while males mainly disperse between female groups within colonies, and less commonly between colonies.
  • Dominant males associate and breed with multiple females.
  • Breeding occurs throughout the year with a peak in births between February and May, especially in the southern parts of the range and at higher altitudes.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Known East of Avondale State Conservation Area
NSW North CoastBarrington Known None
NSW North CoastCarrai Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Known None
NSW North CoastGuy Fawkes Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known West of a north-south line through Kempsey
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Predicted None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
Ocean - Other StateNorthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known West of Lismore
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinEttrema Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None