Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Leipoa ocellata
(Viewing 4 of 4 photos)

The Malleefowl is a megapode. Megapodes lay their eggs into a large mound of earth and decaying vegetable matter which generates enough heat for incubation. Malleefowl are widespread throughout the mallee scrubs of southern Australia, or rather what is left of them - so much of our mallee has been cleared for agriculture. Mallee is their stronghold but they do occur in a variety of habitats, mulga, to name a few.

The number of Malleefowl in Australia has been decreasing for many years and now they are regarded as endangered. The reasons for this decline are varied - in the past, settlers in the mallee found them good to eat, no longer a problem today but along with the clearing came foxes and they remain as one of the main predators. However, the main reason for the decline is the spread of grazing animals - sheep and rabbits have greatly reduced the variety of annuals in the mallee, the mainstay of the Malleefowl.

The life history of the Malleefowl has been the subject of much research over time, but it has been well documented in the book on the subject -" The Mallee-Fowl - The bird that builds an incubator" by H.J Frith published in 1962 by Angus and Robertson.

Photo: 007201

007201 ... Malleefowl.

Photo: 007202

007202 ... Malleefowl

Photo: 007203

007203 ... Malleefowl

Photo: 007204

007204 ... Malleefowl nest mound.

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