Malleefowl in Goonoo

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Malleefowl in Goonoo
From: "Judie Peet" <>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 17:06:36 +1000
Hi Everyone.
Today I went out to Goonoo State Forest (about 45 kms N/E of Dubbo in central western NSW) to check out the most accessible Malleefowl mound.
After returning home to check my photographic records, I found that this Malleefowl is about 3 weeks ahead of schedule. He has the mound quite full of leaf litter, and there are just a few scraps remaining of the windrow that he would have raked up prior to filling the previously excavated mound. Perhaps the late winter/spring rains will come early this year.
For those unfamiliar with the Malleefowl's routine - after the breeding season is finished here, somewhere around mid to late February, the mound is excavated, and left looking like an inverted cone. Around June/July the male bird starts to rake up a windrow of leaf litter. This windrow is about 50 to 60 cms wide, can be up to 30 cms high, and snakes through the forest for quite a long way, even crossing forest roads if need be. It depends on the quantity of leaf drop and other seasonal factors -  and the bird will normally choose to collect litter from a different quadrant of the mound's surrounding area each year.
My photos indicate that usually there is still a thick windrow extending a long way from the mound after the middle of July. It's interesting to see this windrow, like a thick leafy hall runner that seems to start in the middle of the mound, flow up and over the lip of the mound, and extend into the distance, around or over obstacles like fallen logs. What a lot of work for a bird! 
These observations apply only to Malleefowl in Goonoo, an isolated population that hangs on quite well in what most people think of as unlikely Malleefowl habitat. It is fairly open ironbark/box/pine forest with a predominantly acacia understorey, growing on ferruginous sandstone - not mallee country. (There ARE mallee areas in the forest, but that's not where the mounds are.) I'd be interested to know if Malleefowl in other parts of Australia have filled their mounds yet?
Incidentally - a brief look-around showed eight species of wattle in the vicinity of the mound.
Judie Peet
(The only thing certain about birdwatching is that nothing's certain)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU