We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Megapodes?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Megapodes are birds in the family Megapodiidae, in the order Galliformes, which makes megapodes distantly related to chickens, turkeys, pheasants, grouse, and quail. These birds have several distinctive traits which set them aside from other birds, making them topics of interest for biologists. Megapodes are found in various regions of Australasia, with several species classified as threatened due to concerns about the potential survival of these unusual birds.

There are an estimated 22 species in the megapode family, broken up into three basic groups: malleefowl, bush turkey, and scrub fowl. These birds all have stocky bodies, muscular legs, powerful claws, and small heads, and they tend to stick close to the ground, flying only when threatened. The birds scratch through leaf litter for insects, and eat various plants as well. Bush turkeys also have very pronounced and colorful wattles. Like other birds in their order, megapodes tend to look rather plump, with especially heavy breasts which make it difficult for them to fly far.

Two megapode traits are extremely distinctive. The first is the nesting habit of these birds: megapodes build giant mounds from leaf litter and compost, controlling the rate of decay to generate heat to incubate the eggs. This habit has lead some people to call megapodes mound builders or incubator birds. Generally the male supervises the nest, adding or removing organic material as needed.

Megapodes are also superprecocial, emerging from the nest fully feathered and able to fly, run, and claw. In fact, the chicks claw their way out of the nest, using their powerful feet to break open the egg and then worming through the layers of organic material used for incubation. The chicks are capable of immediately scattering to live independently, which causes them to skip the imprinting process which other birds experience.

These Australasian birds tend to prefer jungle habitats, although malleefowl live in the Australian scrub known as mallee. Because they nest and live primarily on the ground, megapodes are very vulnerable to habitat interference, ranging from loose dogs to grazing cattle, and the birds have been known to abandon their nests in areas with too many humans, causing the nests to overheat or grow too cold. Concerns about preserving these unusual birds have led some nations to establish conservation parks specifically for megapodes, restricting human access so that the birds can nest and live in peace.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.