New Guinea Scrubfowl (Megapodius decollatus)

The New Guinea Scrubfowl is a bird that belongs to the family of Megapodiidae. It is a large ground-dwelling bird that is found in the forested regions of New Guinea, which is an island in the western Pacific Ocean. The bird stands approximately 36 to 46 cm tall, with each leg looking quite sturdy and strong. The Scrubfowl's plumage is predominantly black and brown that is dull, aiding in its camouflage in its natural habitat.

The most intriguing aspect of this bird is its nesting habits. The Scrubfowl does not build a traditional nest; instead, they lay their eggs in a mound of dirt or sand, which they excavate themselves. They prefer nesting in all habitats ranging from sand beaches to forests. The bird lays its eggs in a constructed nest and buries them in the sand, which serves an incubation installment. The heat from the sun and the geothermal energy stored in the sand keep the eggs warm until they are sufficiently developed to hatch. The Scrubfowl have a unique habit of regularly checking the temperature of the eggs and relocating or adding or removing sand from the nest to keep the temperature and humidity optimal for incubation.

The chicks when hatched, are covered in yellowish-brown down and are capable of locomotion and searching for food within the first day. The parents do not invest much in the maintenance of the young ones since the chicks are independent, and they need to learn to adjust to the environment alone. The chicks are also naturally equipped with a good sense of direction, allowing them to find their parents and their way back to their nest unaided.

The New Guinea Scrubfowl mostly feeds on an omnivorous diet that primarily includes seeds, fruits, insects, and invertebrates. The bird has a powerful bill, that it uses to scratch through leaves, certain fruits, and other materials to access its food. The Scrubfowl also plays a vital role in seed dispersion and plant propagations.

In conclusion, the New Guinea Scrubfowl is a unique bird that possesses intriguing behaviour and incredible nesting habits. Their way of life helps researchers and scientists to learn more about the creatures and biology in their natural habitat. Despite the human threat to its primary habitat through deforestation, the Scrubfowl continues to flourish in some of the most inaccessible parts of New Guinea. Hunting of the bird has been recorded over the years for meat. However, with an increase in awareness, the bird has slowly gained protection from the government and international groups, highlighting its importance to the world.

Other names

Megapodius decollatus



New Guinea Scrubfowl

megàpode de Nova Guinea



novogvinejska kokošina

tabon novoguinejský

Ny Guinea-buskhøne

Grijs Boshoen


Mégapode de Nouvelle-Guinée


Megapodio papua


Naujosios Gvinėjos didžiakojė višta


nogal nowogwinejski


Новогвинейский большеног

Novogvinejska megapoda

tabon popolavý

Talégalo papúa


Yeni Gine Megapodu

великоніг папуанський

paapua rihukana

új-guineai ásótyúk

Gosong papua