Malleefowl in the Adelaide Zoo

Malleefowl, Adelaide Zoo

The Malleefowl, a turkey-sized mound building bird of the drier parts of Australia, is a widespread but uncommon bird living in the region where I live. It is primarily a ground dwelling bird, feeding mainly on seeds. The male makes a large 2 to 3 metre wide mound of sand and vegetation like leaves, grass, bark and so on which acts like a compost heap.

The rotting vegetation develops heat which incubates the eggs the female lays and buries in the mound. The male works the mound daily during the summer months, adding or removing soil to regulate the temperature in the egg chamber. Not surprisingly, this bird is also known as the Incubator Bird. In all my years of birding I have only seen about a dozen of this species, but amazingly, I saw 6 in a one hour period.

The bird in the photo above is a captive bird in the Adelaide Zoo.


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