Tarcutta Hills Reserve

Talking about a revolution
The grassy hills of tarcutta Hills Reserve. The grassy woodlands of Tarcutta Hills Reserve. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.

At Tarcutta Hills we've got a quiet sort of revolution going on.

Where once the order of the day was to work the land for agriculture, we're now tilling it on behalf of nature.

This includes nursing back to health Tarcutta's precious grassy white box woodlands, which were once part of a network covering some 10 million hectares of south-eastern Australia.

Dramatic changes to the landscape have taken a heavy toll on these woodlands, and experts believe they are now one of the most highly fragmented and poorly protected ecosystems in Australia.

They have been particularly hard hit in the Tarcutta region, putting many bird species that depend on them at risk of local extinction.

However, we know of at least 82 bird species that still feed and forage at Tarcutta, some of them among NSW's most vulnerable.

They include turquoise parrots, brown treecreepers, superb parrots, speckled warblers, black-chinned honeyeaters, hooded robins and diamond firetails, all threatened in NSW.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

What this reserve protects

Swift parrotSwift parrot. Photo: Graeme Chapman.

White box woodlandWhite box woodlands. Photo: David Nelson.

If we're lucky, winter at Tarcutta sees the arrival of swift parrots as they move up and down the east coast of Australia looking for food. These fast-flying, chit-chattering parrots are nationally endangered – there are thought to be just 1000 breeding pairs left.

The reserve also protects these significant species and communities:


  • squirrel glider
  • yellow-footed antechinus
  • tree skink
  • spotted grass frog


  • wite cypress pine
  • small-leaf bush pea
  • honeypot
  • many-flowered mat-rush
  • kurrajong

Vegetation communities

  • mugga ironbark scribbly gum open forest
  • grassy white box woodland
  • red stringybark red box open forest

What we’re doing on the property

Orchid at Tarcutta HIlls Orchid at Tarcutta Hills. Photo: Katrina Blake.

By protecting and increasing the area of grassy white box woodlands at Tarcutta, Bush Heritage is playing a small but important part in Australia's Swift Parrot Recovery Plan, an initiative to increase the amount of habitat available to this nationally endangered bird.

This work also contributes to bolstering what remains of Australia's grassy white box woodlands, a nationally endangered ecological community.

In fact, Tarcutta's woodlands are so important that they have been listed on the Register of the National Estate.

Birds of a feather flock together

Noisy friarbirds are just some of the birds that use the food resources at Tarcutta Hills. Noisy friarbirds are just some of the birds that use the food resources at Tarcutta Hills. Photo: Wayne Lawler/Ecopix.

An important part of ecologist Sandy Gilmore's work is making sure he's on top of the changes taking place within Bush Heritage's reserves.

At Tarcutta Hills that means keeping a close eye on the changing face of local bird populations.

‘During drier times we see a lot of flowering eucalypts,' says Sandy. ‘This attracts nectarivorous species such as the little lorikeet, yellow-tufted honeyeater and red wattle bird.'

'These species declined significantly in 2010, although the more insectivorous noisy friar bird fared well.'

Wetter weather means fewer flowering trees but more growth in the tree tops, and more leaf litter on the ground.

This in turn leads to an increase in crown-feeders, such as the striated thornbill and olive-backed oriole, and ground-foragers such as the speckled warbler and buff-rumped thornbill.

Cultural values

We intend to conduct a cultural values assessment on Tarcutta Hills, to better understand the indigenous cultural values heritage of the property.

Page Last Updated: Thursday 5 May 2011

Map of Tarcutta Hills Reserve
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Quick facts

Established  1999
Area 432 ha
Location 130 km E of Canberra


Where we can, we offer opportunities for you to visit the places you've helped protect. We offer visits when conservation and safety considerations permit.

Unfortunately, this reserve is not open to self guided visits.

For information about visiting other Bush Heritage properties see the visiting our reserves page.


Thank you to all our supporters, whose donations fund the day-to-day costs of managing Tarcutta Hills Reserve.

Generous support for the acquisition of this property was provided by the Australian Government under the National Reserve System Programme.