Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Use of heterogeneous habitat by the western grey kangaroo, Macropus fuliginosus

G Coulson

Wildlife Research 20(2) 137 - 149
Published: 1993


The western grey kangaroo, Macropus fuliginosus, typically occurs at highest population densities in areas of greatest habitat heterogeneity. Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, in semiarid north-western Victoria, supports a relatively high density of this species, and has a mosaic of four major vegetation associations: mallee, woodland, lake bed and grassland. The patterns of habitat use by western grey kangaroos at Hattah-Kulkyne were examined from March 1983 until May 1985 using line-transect surveys to estimate population density in each habitat, and radio-tracking to estimate home range. The population was not dispersed randomly, but generally exhibited either positive or negative preferences for each of the four habitats in early morning and at midday, and on different bimonthly surveys. These preferences often reversed between times of day and between surveys. Home ranges of individuals ranged from 221 to 459 ha (asymptotic MAP[O.95] estimates), each encompassing three or four habitat types, and there was extensive spatial and temporal overlap between individuals. Kangaroos at Hattah-Kulkyne thus alternated between adjacent habitats that offered a range of forage conditions and shelter.


© CSIRO 1993

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