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16 Types of Kangaroos: Species, Facts and Photos

The arid Australia is home to various types of kangaroos that intrigue wildlife enthusiasts worldwide. There are four kangaroo species, each with unique traits and behaviors. However, this article also discussed other marsupials, like the wallabies, due to their many similarities. Hop into this guide of marsupials from the Land Down Under.

Related Read: Animals that Start with K.

Kangaroo Classification

Kangaroos are well-known in Australia's diverse wildlife. The word “kangaroo” comes from “Gangurru,” which was given by the Guuga Yimithirr people of Far North Queensland. These animals hold immense cultural and spiritual significance to the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

Kangaroos are prominent Marsupialia infraclass members that belong to the Macropodidae family in the animal kingdom. Wallabies, kangaroos, tree kangaroos, and wallaroos are some of the common members of the family.

The kangaroo family has four extant species characterized by powerful hind legs and muscular tails, essential for their locomotion. Their close relatives, the wallabies, and wallaroos, bear striking resemblance to them, only differing in size. 

Tree-kangaroos, on the other hand, are arboreal marsupials with longer curved nails and tails.

Meanwhile, another member of the infraclass that bears the name of kangaroos is rat-kangaroos. They are the tiniest macropods, growing up to 10 inches in length.

Regarding their conservation status, the IUCN classified a handful of the members of the Macropodidae family into threatened categories. Aside from hunting pressures, human activities have also decreased kangaroo habitat. As of this writing, four are extinct, four are critically endangered, nine are endangered, and 15 are vulnerable.

Read more: Kangaroo Facts,

16 Types of Kangaroo and Other Macropod Species

1. Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus)

Red Kangaroo
Photo by PotMart186 on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Red Kangaroo is the largest living marsupial in the world, reaching up to 5.2 feet, not including the 3.9-foot tail. It has adapted to Australia's arid and semi-arid regions by grazing on grass most of its day. 

The male has a short, red to reddish-brown coat and can grow taller than six feet when upright, while the females have a blue-grey coat. 

Its digestive system is similar to a cow's, allowing it to extract every nutrient from its food. 

Red Kangaroos are most active at dawn, dusk, and night. It avoids the searing daytime heat of its environment. It survives prolonged periods of drought by extracting moisture from the plants it consumes.

In 2019, there was a reassessment of the taxonomic classification of Red Kangaroos, Antilopine Kangaroos, Black Wallaroos, and Common Wallaroos. Genetic analysis led to this change1, moving these species from the Macropus genus to the Osphranter genus.

2. Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)

Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Photo by Sklmsta on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

The Eastern Grey Kangaroos are native species of Eastern Australia. The males, known as boomers, can reach a height of up to 4.9 feet (excluding the tail) and live in grasslands, forests, and coastal heaths. 

Their grey and brown fur helps them blend into the landscape. They are social animals living in groups or "mobs" that can have more than ten members. 

The Eastern Gray Kangaroo is most active during the cooler hours of dawn and dusk, hopping around their territories at high speeds. This method is how they avoid the heat of the Australian day. 

3. Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

Western Grey Kangaroo
Photo by User:DXR on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Western Gray Kangaroo inhabits southern regions of Western Australia. It is one of the largest kangaroo species and can grow up to 4.3 feet tall and weigh 120 pounds. 

Their gray-brown fur darkens to black around the face, paws, and tail tip. Western Grey Kangaroos live in groups or mobs with up to 50 members, like other species. 

4. Antilopine Kangaroo (Osphranter antilopinus)

The Antilopine Kangaroo inhabits the eucalyptus woodlands in Northern Australia. They look slightly different from other kangaroo species due to their longer and slender limbs. Males have reddish-tan coats, while the females and juveniles have a softer grey hue. 

They are the smallest kangaroo species, standing at 3.6 feet. Sexual dimorphism is present in their size, where females are smaller than males. Moreover, Antilopine Kangaroos can run up to 31 miles per hour when threatened. 

They live in communities called mobs, which consist of one dominant male, a few females, and their young. Mating season starts during the wet season, and males engage in boxing matches to establish dominance and the right to mate. 

5. Common Wallaroo (Osphranter robustus)

Common Wallaroo
Photo by Michael Barritt & Karen May on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Common Wallaroo is well-adapted to rocky and arid landscapes in Australia. Their sturdy build and fur allow them to blend in with their surroundings. 

Wallaroos are solitary animals that seek shelter in caves and rocky outcrops. Like kangaroos, they lick their forearms to moisten them and initiate cooling during hot weather. Likewise, they are not picky eaters and primarily consume grasses and leaves. 

They breed opportunistically throughout the year and their young stay in their mother's pouch for around eight months before venturing out to explore their surroundings.

6. Black Wallaroo (Osphranter bernardus)

The Black Wallaroo lives in Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. It has a robust physique and dark coat, with males larger than females. 

They live alone or in small groups, inhabit rocky cliffs and woodlands, and feed mainly on grasses and leaves. 

Moreover, the Black Wallaroo is most active around dawn and dusk and is well-suited to its challenging environment.

7. Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi)

Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo
Photo by David Lochlin on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo lives in the high-altitude rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It has adapted to life in the trees with a vibrant chestnut-brown coat and a golden-brown face. 

Its hind legs can move independently, which is an adaptation to its arboreal lifestyle. Its diet consists of leaves, fruits, and flowers from over 100 plant species. 

Unfortunately, IUCN categorized them as endangered species with a decreasing population trend.

8. Wondiwoi Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus mayri)

The Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo is a rare species in the Wondiwoi Mountains of West Papua, Indonesia. It has a thick black woolly coat, strong front limbs, and a long tail, which helps it balance on tall branches. 

It feeds on leaves, fruits, and flowers in its forest habitat, sustaining itself on a low-nutrient diet. 

This elusive kangaroo prefers to live alone. Despite its discovery in 1928, it wasn't seen again until 2018. With an estimated less than 50 mature individuals, IUCN declared Wondiwoi2 Tree-kangaroos critically endangered.

9. Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi)

Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo
Photo by Graham Winterflood on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo is native to the rainforests of North Queensland, Australia. These arboreal creatures have muscular forelimbs that help them hoist themselves up tree trunks. At the same time, their long and flexible tail provides balance while navigating the leafy canopy. 

The fur of Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo is a mix of black, brown, and grey, which makes it a perfect camouflage in the dark forest. 

Due to their habitat, they mainly feed on leaves, supplemented with fruits, flowers, and tree bark. They descend to the ground to graze on grass or move between trees. 

A female tree kangaroo gives birth to a single joey, which it nurtures in her pouch for almost ten months.

10. Matschie's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei)

Matschie's Tree-kangaroo
Photo by Joe Mabel on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Matschie's Tree Kangaroo, also called the Huon Tree Kangaroo, lives in the trees of Papua New Guinea's northeastern Huon Peninsula. They have a unique appearance: a red, brown, and black coat and a bushy tail. 

These types of kangaroos have strong forelimbs that help them move through branches precisely. They feed on leaves, fruits, flowers, and grasses and have a short gestation period of around 30 days. 

Matschie’s Tree Kangaroos face significant threats from logging and hunting, putting them on the endangered species list of the IUCN.

11. Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis)

Agile Wallaby
Photo by JJ Harrison on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Agile Wallaby, or the Sandy Wallaby, lives in the northern regions of Australia and New Guinea. It inhabits grasslands and prefers to live near water bodies. 

This creature is agile enough to move quickly through tall grass or dense shrubbery, outpacing predators. 

Its diet mainly consists of grasses and herbs, but it can also consume leaves, seeds, and roots. Like kangaroos, Agile Wallabies form loose groups called mobs. 

12. Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii)

Tammar Wallaby
Photo by NasserHalaweh on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Tammar Wallaby is a small marsupial inhabiting the shrublands of South and Western Australia. It can weigh up to 20 pounds and has a greyish-brown and dark brown coat with a lighter grey belly and a white stripe on its cheek. 

It is most active during dawn and dusk when it forages for grasses, leaves, and shrubs. 

During mating season, male wallabies compete fiercely. After mating, the Tammar Wallaby observes embryonic diapause, which pauses the embryo's development. The joeys spend 8-9 months in their mother's pouch before becoming independent.

13. Parma Wallaby (Macropus parma)

Parma Wallaby
Photo by Keven Law on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Parma Wallaby is the smallest member of the Macropus genus. It has a soft, blue-grey coat with a white stripe on its cheek. The male is generally larger than the female kangaroo. 

They live in dense forests and thickets during the day and come out at night to feed on various grasses, herbs, leaves, bark, and roots. 

These solitary animals mark their territory with a scent from chest glands and move by hopping.

14. Bennett's Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)

Bennett's Wallaby
Photo by Tony Hisgett on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Bennett's Wallaby, or the Red-necked Wallaby, lives in Tasmania and along Australia's eastern coastline. This medium-sized marsupial has a reddish fur collar around its neck and shoulders, and its darker, denser coat highlights the biodiversity of Australia. 

They feed on grasses and herbs, and their digestive system can break down even the toughest plant matter. 

These creatures are most active at dawn and dusk, seeking shade as the day heats up. Although they typically live alone, they can form small groups during meal times.

15. Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus)

Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby
Photo by Peripitus on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby is a marsupial species in the rugged terrains of South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales. It has a grey coat with a white underbelly and yellow stripes on its tail and limbs, which gives it its distinctive name. 

These wallabies can easily maneuver up and down cliffs thanks to their muscular hind legs and long tails. 

They lead a primarily nocturnal existence and take shelter in caves and crevices during the day to escape the heat. 

These wallabies mainly eat grasses and leaves but consume fruits, seeds, and roots. They stand on their hind legs to reach for higher vegetation when feeding.

16. Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale penicillata)

Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby
Photo by Donald Hobern on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby is a nocturnal animal living in the rocky landscapes of Australia's eastern coast. Its brush-like tail helps it maintain balance while traversing cliffs. This type of macropod has reddish or greyish-brown bodies.

They feed on grasses, leaves, roots, bark, fruits, and seeds. While they tend to lead solitary lives, they can form loose colonies during a surplus of food and water. They can also hop away from predators quickly, even through rocky terrain. 

1

Celik, M. A., Cascini, M., Haouchar, D., Van Der Burg, C. A., Dodt, W. G., Evans, A. R., Prentis, P. J., Bunce, M., Fruciano, C., & Phillips, M. J. (2019). A molecular and morphometric assessment of the systematics of the Macropus complex clarifies the tempo and mode of kangaroo evolution. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 186(3), 793–812.

2

Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S, Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A. & James, R. (2016). Dendrolagus mayri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136668A21956785. 

By Mike Gomez, BA.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash.
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