Nature conservation

Threatened species

Brush-tailed Phascogale - 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: Phascogale tapoatafa
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2012


The Brush-tailed Phascogale is tree-dwelling marsupial carnivore. It has a characteristic, black, bushy ‘bottlebrush’ tail, with hairs up to 4 cm long. Its fur is grey above and pale cream below and it has conspicuous black eyes and large naked ears. Adults have a head and body length of about 20 cm, a tail length of about 20 cm and weigh 110 - 235 grams.


The Brush-tailed Phascogale has a patchy distribution around the coast of Australia. In NSW it is mainly found east of the Great Dividing Range although there are occassional records west ot the divide.

Habitat and ecology

  • Prefer dry sclerophyll open forest with sparse groundcover of herbs, grasses, shrubs or leaf litter.
  • Also inhabit heath, swamps, rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest.
  • Agile climber foraging preferentially in rough barked trees of 25 cm DBH or greater..
  • Feeds mostly on arthropods but will also eat other invertebrates, nectar and sometimes small vertebrates.
  • Females have exclusive territories of approximately 20 - 40 ha, while males have overlapping territories often greater than 100 ha.
  • Nest and shelter in tree hollows with entrances 2.5 - 4 cm wide and use many different hollows over a short time span.
  • Mating occurs May - July; males die soon after the mating season whereas females can live for up to three years but generally only produce one litter.

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

CMA CMA sub-region Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Border Rivers-GwydirBinghi Plateau Predicted
Border Rivers-GwydirTenterfield Plateau Known None
Central WestBathurst Predicted None
Central WestBogan-Macquarie Known None
Central WestCapertee Predicted None
Central WestHill End Predicted None
Central WestKerrabee Predicted None
Central WestLiverpool Range Predicted None
Central WestNymagee-Rankins Springs Known None
Central WestOberon Predicted None
Central WestOrange Predicted None
Central WestUpper Slopes Predicted None
Central WestWollemi Predicted None
Hawkesbury-NepeanWollemi Known
Hawkesbury-NepeanYengo Known
Hunter-Central RiversBarrington Known None
Hunter-Central RiversComboyne Plateau Known None
Hunter-Central RiversEllerston Known None
Hunter-Central RiversHunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKaruah Manning Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMummel Escarpment Known None
Hunter-Central RiversTomalla Known None
Hunter-Central RiversUpper Hunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWalcha Plateau Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWyong Known None
Hunter-Central RiversYengo Predicted
LachlanUpper Slopes Predicted None
MurrayBondo Predicted None
MurrayMurray Fans Known None
MurrayNew South Wales Alps Known None
MurrayUpper Slopes Predicted None
MurrumbidgeeBondo Predicted
MurrumbidgeeBondo Predicted
MurrumbidgeeNew South Wales Alps (Part A) Predicted None
MurrumbidgeeNew South Wales Alps (Part B) Predicted
MurrumbidgeeUpper Slopes Predicted
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part B) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Range Predicted None
NamoiPeel Predicted None
NamoiWalcha Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversCarrai Plateau Known None
Northern RiversCataract Known None
Northern RiversChaelundi Known None
Northern RiversClarence Lowlands Known None
Northern RiversClarence Sandstones Known None
Northern RiversCoffs Coast & Escarpment Known None
Northern RiversComboyne Plateau Known None
Northern RiversDalmorton Known None
Northern RiversEbor Basalts Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Gorges Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Northern RiversMurwillumbah (Qld - Southeast Hills and Ranges) Known None
Northern RiversNightcap Predicted None
Northern RiversNortheast Forest Lands Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part A) Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part B) Known None
Northern RiversRocky River Gorge Known None
Northern RiversStanthorpe Plateau Known None
Northern RiversUpper Manning Known None
Northern RiversWalcha Plateau Known east of Tia River
Northern RiversWashpool Known None
Northern RiversWongwibinda Plateau Predicted east of Guy Fawkes River
Northern RiversWoodenbong Known None
Northern RiversYuraygir Known None
Southern RiversBateman Known None
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part B) Predicted None
Southern RiversJervis Known None
Southern RiversKybeyan - Gourock (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversKybeyan - Gourock (Part B) Known None
Southern RiversMonaro (Part C) Predicted None
Southern RiversNew South Wales Alps Predicted None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Plains Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part B) Predicted None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part C) Known None