Photo: C & D Frith
Wet Tropics Rainforest Life
ORANGE-FOOTED SCRUBFOWL: Megapodius reinwardt 40 cm
The Orange-footed Scrubfowl is one of three megapodes in Australia. This family name refers to the robust feet of all species.
The nest is a large incubator mound that generates heat through the decay of moist organic material. Direct solar radiation may also contribute significantly.
A typical mound is 2-3 metres tall and up to 15 metres diameter and can weigh over 50 tonnes, maintained by a pair throughout the year. It may be used for decades.
Eggs are laid when the mound temperature is about 30-35 degrees. This temperature results from site selection, rather than maintenance of the mound.
More than one pair may use a mound so it can produce large numbers of young each season.
The large egg enables the hatching of a relatively advanced chick. One report of a chick unearthed from a mound states that it immediately flew about 10 metres.
Scrubfowl have a peculiar loud territorial call that is uttered mainly during the night. During the nesting season, it is more frequent and mostly a duet between the male and female.
Food comprises various items found in leaf litter, including fallen fruit.
Scrubfowl are observed regularly round Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge and in the nearby Lake Eacham picnic area.
Additional Information: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
It has large orange feet, a dark brown body and a small crest.
It's calls include gargles and loud double crows, often heard at night around the rainforest accommodations.
They are common around Marrdja and Dubuji boardwalks and easily seen in the Daintree lowlands, especially the Cape Tribulation picnic area.
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