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: 08 Jun 2021


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 occasional records west of 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

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Known None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Predicted None
New England TablelandsNightcap Predicted None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known East of Tia River
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Known East of Guy Fawkes River
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 CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Predicted None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Predicted None
NSW North CoastWashpool Predicted None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Predicted None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Predicted North of Hwy from Ulan to Gulgong, North of Hwy East from Gulgong to Wellington, N/NW of highway from Wellington to Molong, W/NW of Hwy from Molong to Forbes
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerEast Gippsland Lowlands Predicted None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None