Malleefowl, Innes National Park
The Innes National Park at the southern tip of Yorke Peninsula is one of the more reliable places to see the endangered Malleefowl. On our recent holiday there I didn’t manage to see any, but I was delighted to get some good photos all the same.
The birds I’ve shown here on this post were stuffed birds on display in the park Visitor Centre!
I have seen this species here on previous visits many years ago. A friend of ours used to have access to some non-public roads so he could set up his beehives in the mallee which is the predominant tree in the park. Allan was able to set up his 8mm movie camera and film the male malleefowl working at the nest mound. One memorable scene showed him scratching at the dirt with the male bird alongside busily scratching the dirt back onto the mound.
Malleefowl males make a nest by scratching earth, leaves, sticks and other vegetation into a mound, often 2 – 3 metres across and 1.5m high. The vegetation then rots, just like a compost heap, and the heat produced hatches the eggs. The eggs are placed in the mound by the female, often laying 20 – 30 eggs over the spring and summer months. The male then tends to the nesting mound, keeping the temperature at a constant level by adding more dirt, or removing it. On hatching, the chicks dig their way out of the dirt and then run off into the bush, tending for themselves from the first day.