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Western Gray Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Western Gray Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)


Only found in southern Australia

  • Endemic to southern Australia, from Shark Bay east to southwest Queensland (Eldridge and Coulson 2015)
    • Range includes west New South Wales and west Victoria (Eldridge and Coulson 2015)
    • Also, Kangaroo Island, South Australia (Eldridge and Coulson 2015)
      • M. f. fuliginosus endemic to Kangaroo Island (Burbidge et al. 2016)
  • Western gray kangaroos have only been known to exist in New South Wales and Queensland since 1970 (Dawson 2013)
  • Closely associated with the southern winter rainfall belt of Australia (Dawson 2013)
  • In the latter half of the 20th century, moved into drier areas, possibly with more prevalent water provisioning for livestock; vegetation changes and reduced dingo predation may also be influences (Dawson 2013)
  • Ranges of western and eastern gray kangaroos overlap in New South Wales, southwestern Queensland, western Victoria, and the southeastern corner of South Australia (Dawson 2013)
    • Where these species co-occur, they generally use different habitat areas


(Eldridge and Coulson 2015, except as noted)

Occupy a variety of habitats

  • Found in natural areas that experience rainfall or habitats near permanent water sources:
    • Woodland
    • Heathland
    • Shrubland
    • Forest
    • Mallee scrub
  • Also occur in human modified habitats
    • Pastures
      • Avoids areas grazed by sheep
    • Croplands and plantations
    • Golf courses

Habitat preferences

  • Prefer areas with enough cover to provide shelter from weather and predators, and open, grassy areas where they can find food
  • Highest densities in landscapes with many habitat types (also Pople et al. 2007); rare in homogeneous croplands and mallee scrub
  • Sexual segregation (females and males stay apart) sometimes observed, but not always
    • Garnick et al. (2016) note no differences in habitat preference between males and females during the breeding season
    • Coulson et al. (2006) found pronounced sexual segregation, with males and females using different habitats and separating into male-female groups within a habitat
      • Males used grassland habitat, whereas females used lakebed, woodland, and shrubland habitat
    • MacFarlane and Coulson (2005) also found evidence of segregation by sex among habitats during the non-breeding season

Western Gray Kangaroo Distribution

Western gray kangaroo distribution

The western gray kangaroo's name is a bit misleading, as it is found in most of southern Australia.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

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