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The Mallee Fowl

An account of the nesting habits of the Mallee Fowl (Leipoa ocellata) a member of the Megapodiidae family of mound builders. These birds do not brood their eggs. They lay them on a bed of organic matter and cover them with a mound of earth, leaving them to be incubated by heat from the fermenting vegetable matter and the natural heat of the Sun.

A Mallee Fowl lays between 10 and 30 eggs each season at the rate of one a week, and each egg takes about eight weeks to hatch. During the entire egg- laying and incubation period, the male is responsible for keeping the egg chamber at a constant temperature.

Produced in 1957.

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00:17:44 | Title over still, 2 Mallee fowls
00:18:04 | Dwarf eucalyptus scrub on dry sandy soil, Mallee bird and its moundin clearing
00:18:23 | Graphics - Cross section Mallee nesting mound structure, map ofAustralia showing occurrence of Mallee fowl
00:18:42 | Eucalyptus scrub with hole dug by Mallee fowl, leaf and twig litterat bottom of hold, egg chamber
00:19:13 | Male Mallee fowl scooping sand onto mound, threat display
00:19:54 | Pair of birds on mound, male checking temperature of sand, scoopingsand out with feet
00:20:21 | Female scratches niche in wall of hole, lays egg, walks away, malecovers egg with soil carefully
00:21:25 | Graphics - Graph of egg laying and incubation period and temperaturein mound
00:22:06 | Male in mound scooping sand with feet, scooping up beakful of sandto test temperature
00:22:35 | Graphics - cross section of mound in spring
00:22:39 | Graph showing fermentation temperature at mound during spring
00:22:48 | Male in mound re moving sand, female on edge of mound, sand replaced
00:23:07 | Graph showing summer temperature of mound
00:23:17 | Graphics - cross section of mound in summer
00:23:29 | Mallee fowl pair on heaped up mound, male digs out nest, mixes soiland replaces mound
00:24:08 | Graph showing egg chamber temperature in autumn
00:24:17 | Graphics - cross section mound in autumn showing before and afterscooping out sand
00:24:27 | Saucer shaped mound, pair of birds scooping sand out and into nest
00:25:01 | Cross section mound in autumn
00:25:03 | Male Mallee fowl scooping sand into mound while man scoops sandout by hand
00:25:32 | Uncovered eggs at bottom of hole
00:25:37 | Chick emerges from soil, walks to shade, rests, hops to scrub, feedsfrom forest floor, 2 birds feeding
00:26:33 | Graphics - eggs in nest, hatching individually over time.
00:27:09 | Male opening nest, scooping sand out and in
00:27:48 | End