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Blue Gum High Forest: Fauna



The largest of Australia’s owls, the Powerful Owl usually inhabits the moist forests of eastern Australia. Its main item of prey is possums of various species, though large bats such as flying foxes are also often caught. They roost by day, perched in the dense shade of a tree, often with the previous night’s prey held in its talons; this is when Powerful Owls are seen most often. With expanding populations of possums occurring in built-up areas, Powerful Owls are increasingly being recorded in the suburbs.

Endangered Animals

The Powerful Owl is the largest owl in Australasia. It is a typical hawk-owl, with large yellow eyes and no facial-disc. Adults reach 60 cm in length, have a wingspan of up to 140 cm and weigh up to 1.45 kilograms. Males are larger than females.

The Swift Parrot is small parrot about 25 cm long. It is bright green with red around the bill, throat and forehead. The red on its throat is edged with yellow. Its crown is blue-purple

The glossy black-cockatoo is around 46-50 centimetres long and is generally smaller than other black-cockatoos. It is a brownish black colour and has a small crest.


The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest Australian bat, with a head and body length of 23 - 29 cm. It has dark grey fur on the body, lighter grey fur on the head and a russet collar encircling the neck. The wing membranes are black and the wingspan can be up to 1 m

The Yellow-bellied Sheathtail-bat is a very distinctive, large, insectivorous bat up to 87 mm long. It has long, narrow wings, a glossy, jet-black back, and a white to yellow belly extending to the shoulders and just behind the ear


This video takes a look at the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua), just one of Australia's many amazing owl species. Being the largest owl in Australia it captures the imagination of anyone who has the fortune to observe it. Birds in Backyards is running a project looking at the how the species is surviving in our urban centres, focusing on Sydney and surrounds.

Glossy Black-Cockatoos are the smallest members of the genus Calyptorhynchus, which includes the Red-Tailed, Yellow-Tailed, Short- and Long-Tailed black cockatoos. They're hard to see in the wild and quite inconspicuous until they flash their gorgeous scarlet tail panels.

Swift Parrots are critically endangered and may not be here for our grandchildren. They breed in Tasmania but then depart for mainland Australia for winter.

During heat events, grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) cannot cool down enough by only flapping their wings and they fly down to the nearest river to belly dip in order to do so (and proceed to drink the water of their fur as well). An incredible spectacle. Flying-foxes are an important part of our ecosystems by dispersing seeds far and wide.

Eric is a Yellow Bellied Sheath Tailed bat who was found on the ground with significant brushing on his wing membrane.


'Warali Wali' means possum in the Darug language. The possum is one of the traditional totems of the Darug people. 

Darug Totems

The totem of the Darug Boorooberongal male is the Wirambi the flying fox. The totem belonging to the Darugule Boorooberongal woman is the Wuban the possum or it may carry the name of Burumin which is closely associated with the word for younger sister (Durumin) during Garriberri (Corrooberee)

Fauna seen in the Blue Gum High Forest

Ring-tail possumssugar glidersbrushtail possums and grey-headed flying foxes are common. There are occasional sightings of wallabies.[4] Birds include rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus), Australian king parrot (Alisterus scapularis), crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans), currawongsvariegated fairywren (Malurus lamberti), black-faced cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae), superb fairywren (Malurus cyaneus), powerful owl (Ninox strenua),[2] glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) and silvereyes. The yellow-bellied sheathtail-bat (Saccolaimus flaviventris) is present though seldom seen.