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Orange-footed scrubfowl
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Megapodiidae
Genus: Megapodius
Gaimard, 1823
Type species
Megapodius freycinet[1]
Gaimard, 1823

14 total, 12 extant, see text.

The scrubfowl are the genus Megapodius of the mound-builders, stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet in the family Megapodiidae. They are found from south-east Asia to north Australia and islands in the west Pacific.

They do not incubate their eggs with their body heat in the orthodox way, but bury them. They are best known for building a massive mound of decaying vegetation, which the male attends, adding or removing litter to regulate the internal heat while the eggs hatch. The species in taxonomic order are:

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Megapodius pritchardii Tongan megapode Tonga
Megapodius laperouse Micronesian megapode Palau and the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam
Megapodius nicobariensis Nicobar megapode Nicobar Islands (India)
Megapodius cumingii Philippine megapode The Philippines, northeastern Borneo, and Sulawesi
Megapodius bernsteinii Sula megapode Banggai and Sula Islands between Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands in Indonesia
Megapodius tenimberensis Tanimbar megapode Tanimbar Islands of Indonesia
Megapodius freycinet Dusky megapode Maluku and Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia.
Megapodius geelvinkianus Biak scrubfowl Biak, Mios Korwar, Numfor, Manim and Mios Numin in the West Papua region of Indonesia.
Megapodius eremita Melanesian megapode Bismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea) and the Solomon Islands.
Megapodius layardi Vanuatu megapode Vanuatu
Megapodius affinis New Guinea scrubfowl New Guinea,
Megapodius reinwardt Orange-footed scrubfowl Lesser Sunda Islands as well as southern New Guinea and northern Australia.

In all of the above, the name "scrubfowl" is sometimes exchanged with "megapode". Traditionally, most have been listed as subspecies of M. freycinet, but today all major authorities consider this incorrect. Nevertheless, there are unresolved issues within the genus, and for example the taxon forstenii has been considered a subspecies of M. freycinet, a subspecies of M. cumingii, or a monotypic species. An additional species, the Moluccan megapode, has sometimes been placed in Megapodius, but today most place it in the genus Eulipoa instead. The maleo is also associated with these genera, and together the three form a group.


  1. ^ Peters, JL (1934). Check-list of birds of the world. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 3–7.

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