Re: megapodes

To: John Leonard <>
Subject: Re: megapodes
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 1997 09:56:21 +1000
John Leonard wrote:
> Here's an interesting question.
> In Australia there is one species of megapode (Malleefowl) found in the band
> of mallee across the south of the continent and two species (Scrub Turkey
> and Orange-footed Scrubfowl) found in rainforest and adjacent habitats down
> the east coast. However there is not, and hasn't been in Recent times, a
> species inhabiting dry schlerophyll and woodland down the eastern side of
> the continent. Why not? Surely if the mallee can support a species, then dry
> forest and woodland could too.
> Any suggestions? (any fossils?)
> @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
> Dr John Leonard
> PO Box 243, Woden,
> "We are not concerned with hopes and fears,
> only with the truth as far as our reason permits
> us to discover it." Charles Darwin
> @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

A very interesting question, John, which Lawrie Conole and Allan Burbidge have 
quite well. 

In addition to their comments I would like to suggest that there are other 
ground-foraging bird species that live in large family groups, such as 
Choughs and Apostlebirds, that may competitively exclude megapodes in the dry 
sclerophyll forests and woodland areas of eastern Australia.

Dr Stephen Ambrose
Research and Conservation manager

Birds Australia (formerly Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union),
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East,
VIC  3123.
Email:  S.Ambrose <>  (at work)
        <>   (at home)

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