Mound-builders

Megapodiidae

Three species of these mostly ground-dwelling birds are found in Australia. They are collectively known as mound-builders or megapodes (large feet) from the mounds of rotting vegetation they use to incubate their eggs, which can number over thirty in a single mound. The temperature of the mound is carefully monitored by the male, but the chicks must fend for themselves from the moment they hatch. The Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami is endemic, as is the Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, while the wider ranging Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt also occurs in New Guinea and eastern Indonesia.

Malleefowl

Malleefowl

What does it look like? A large and unmistakable ground-dwelling bird. The head and neck are grey, becoming more cream on the belly, and with a dark blackish stripe between the throat and breast. The wings and remaining upperparts are mottled and barred with black, grey, brown and cream. Where does it live? This species occurs west of the Great Dividing range in New South Wales, south into north-western...
Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

What does it look and sound like? This large, mainly terrestrial bird is easily identified by its bright orange legs and feet, brown back and wings, and dark slate grey head, neck and underparts. The head has a small brown crest. Calls consist of a combination of loud clucks and screams. Where does it live? It inhabits rainforests and dense vine forests, where individuals defend exclusive feeding ...