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Buergers'/Goodfellow's (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and Matschie's (Dendrolagus matschiei) Tree Kangaroos Fact Sheet: Summary

Buergers'/Goodfellow's (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and Matschie's (Dendrolagus matschiei) Tree Kangaroos Fact Sheet

Tree kangaroo

Matschie's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Diprotodontia – koalas, wombats, possums, and macropods (kangaroos, tree kangaroos, wallabies, etc.)

Family: Macropodidae – tree kangaroos, kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, etc.

Genus: Dendrolagus

Species: Dendrolagus goodfellowi (Thomas 1908) - Goodfellow's tree kangaroo

Subspecies: Dendrolagus goodfellowi buergersi (Matschie 1912) - Buergers' tree kangaroo

Subspecies: Dendrolagus goodfellowi goodfellowi (Thomas 1908)

Species: Dendrolagus matschiei (Förster & Rothschild 1907) - Matschie's (or Huon) tree kangaroo

Body Weight
Buerger's, males: 6.7-8.5 kg (14.8-18.7 lb)
Buerger's, females: 5.6-8.6 kg (12.3-19.0 lb)

Matschie's, males: 5.8-10.0 kg (12.8-22.0 lb)
Matschie's, females: 5.6-10.5 kg (12.4-23.2 lb)

Head-body Length
Buergers', males: 500-750 mm (19.7-29.5 in)
Buergers', females: 560-635 mm (22.1-25.0 in)

Matschie's, males: 615-660 mm (24.2-26.0 in)
Matschie's, females: 512-630 mm (20.2-24.8 in)

Tail Length
Buergers', males: 645-760 mm (25.4-29.9 in)
Buerger's, females: 650-779 mm (25.6-30.7 in)

Matschie's, males: 555-620 mm (21.9-24.4 in)
Matschie's, females: 455-685 mm (17.9-27.0 in)

Both chestnut brown.
Buergers/Goodfellow': Short, wooly fur; two yellow stripes run down its back; banded markings on tail.
Matschie's: Fur relatively long; distinctive brown and creamy-white color on face; no dorsal stripes, like on Buergers'; no markings on tail

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Very small; eastern Papua New Guinea

Montane tropical forests

IUCN Status
Both species: Endangered

CITES Appendix
Not listed

Population in Wild
Buerger's/Goodfellow's tree kangaroo: not common; trend decreasing
Matschie's (or Huon) tree kangaroo: fewer than 2,500 adults

Climb trees (rare among marsupials). Move on the ground and also tree to tree. Walk, hop on two back legs, bound on all four legs. Efficient climbers.

Activity Cycle
Unclear; different patterns observed.

Social Groups
Buergers'/Goodfellow's: often found in male-female pairs
Matschie's: unknown from the wild; described as solitary

Browsing herbivores. Eat many types of plants on the ground and in trees. Meat-eating only in observed in managed care.

Subject to much hunting pressure by humans (for food and trade by local people). Possibly very large snakes (not well-understood).

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
About 2-2.5 years (most data from individuals in managed care)

44-45 days

Litter Size
Usually 1

Interbirth Interval
Breed year round; females in estrus for 51-70 days; perhaps 10-12 in a lifetime

Birth Weight

Age at Weaning
About 12 months; accompany mother 2-3 more months

Typical Life Expectancy
Wild populations: 5-8 years
Managed care: median life expectancy of about 12 years

Feature Facts

  • Very strong limbs for climbing and walking/bounding; dexterous forepaws
  • Knobby pads on feet for high-friction while climbing
  • Difficult to study in the wild; limited natural history information available
  • Typically fight while lying on sides; wrestle and box with forelimbs
  • Usually silent; may use tongue clicks to communicate agitation or anger
  • Relatively few tree kangaroos in managed care settings
  • All tree kangaroos may be threatened with extinction
  • Local people often use dogs to hunt tree kangaroos

About This Fact Sheet

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© 2013-2018 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Taxonomy, Conservation Status, Longevity updates Apr 2018.


How to cite: Buergers'/Goodfellow's (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and Matschie's (Dendrolagus matschiei) Tree Kangaroos Fact Sheet. c2013. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. buerger-matschie-treekangaroos
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

Distinctive Tails

bands on the tail of a tree kangaroo

Buergers' tree kangaroo has bands and blotches on its tail.

The patterns is unique to each individual.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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