Bridled Nailtail Wallaby

© Kim Wormald

Quick Facts

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Onychogalea fraenata Macropodidae (kangaroos and wallabies)
  • CONSERVATION STATUS: National: Endangered NSW: Extinct in the wild Vic: Extinct
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby | Australian Wildlife Conservancy © Aline Poh/AWC

What is AWC doing?

AWC protects an important population of Bridled Nailtail Wallabies at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pilliga National Park, where they are doing well and showing signs of breeding.

In 1998, the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was reintroduced to Scotia as part of a captive breeding program operated by the previous owners Earth Sanctuaries Limited. After AWC acquired the property in 2002, Scotia’s conservation fences were upgraded and expanded to the current 8,000-hectare safe haven (made up of two adjoining 4,000-hectare fenced areas or ‘stages’), with all feral predators eradicated. This enabled ecologists to release 162 wallabies from the breeding program inside Stage 1 in 2004-2005, and then another 267 individuals inside Stage 2 in 2008.  In May 2024, another 20 wallabies were translocated from Taunton National Park in Queensland, to diversify the genetics of Scotia’s growing population.

In July 2019, AWC reintroduced Bridled Nailtail Wallabies to the Pilliga, as part of our partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. In time, AWC’s populations in NSW are projected to grow to at least 3,000 individuals.

Threats To Wildlife Awc Bridled Nailtail Wallaby © AWC

Threats to Species


Over the last 20 years, Bridled Nailtail Wallaby populations in unfenced national parks have declined. Reasons attributed to the decline of this species include competition for resources with domestic stock (particularly sheep), altered habitat, and predation by exotic predators – especially feral cats and foxes. Large numbers were killed by pastoralists in the early 20th century, and were hunted for their pelts.



The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is a medium-sized wallaby, with males reaching up to eight kilograms and females reaching up to six kilograms. They are easily identifiable by the white ‘bridle’ line which runs from the back of the neck down behind each of the forearms. Their fur is soft and greyish in colour, becoming darker towards the tip of the tail.


Bridled Nailtails are mostly nocturnal, emerging to feed in open grassy areas before dusk. In cooler months, they are sometimes seen basking in the afternoon sun. During the day they shelter in hollow logs or beneath bushes, sometimes excavating a shallow depression or ‘scrape’.

Bridled Nailtail Wallabies are usually solitary, sometimes feeding together in small groups. Their diet consists of mixed forbs, grass and browse, including chenopod species and soft grasses (such as species of Chloris, Sporobolus, and Bothriochloa).

Breeding is opportunistic and can occur at any time of year when conditions are favourable.

Range and abundance

The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was historically found throughout semi-arid south-eastern Australia, from the Murray River, in north-western Victoria, to Charters Towers, in Queensland. There are records from the slopes and plains west of the Great Dividing Range, in tall shrubland and grassy woodland habitats.

The only naturally occurring population is confined to Taunton National Park, in Queensland, with small reintroduced populations present at Idalia National Park and Avocet Nature Refuge in central Queensland.

Sanctuaries Where You Can Find the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby

Wayne Lawler/AWC
New South Wales


“Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary … a vitally important project for Australia and for the planet.” – Sir David Attenborough Scotia Wildlife...

Wayne Lawler/AWC
New South Wales

The Pilliga

Representing a landmark collaboration between AWC and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Pilliga project area protects a...

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Latest News from the Field

Brad Leue/AWC
News from the Field Press Release 12 Jun. 2024

Mission to diversify endangered wallaby population in south-west NSW

@ PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
J2 Geospatial Intelligence Service