Malleefowl

Malleefowl in forest after attending its mound

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 temperature of around 33°C. The chicks leave the mound unaided after hatching (around 50 days after being laid) and the same mound is used in successive years. The pale grey legs are powerful and used for raking the ground litter and vegetation in search of the seeds, flowers and some invertebrates that constitute its diet, and for creating and maintaining the mound. 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.

Scientific name: Leipoa ocellata