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

A large and unmistakable ground-dwelling bird that lays its eggs in a large mound of rotting vegetation and other ground matter. The male builds several mounds and the female selects the one she wants to lay her eggs in, burying them after she does so. The male returns regularly to the mound to monitor the temperature of the mound and consequently adding or removing material to maintain the desired...
Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

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. Although it is the smallest of the megapodes found in Australia, the Orange-footed Scrubfowl builds the largest incubation mound, up to three...