Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 98 - Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Many people have commented on the colourful nature of Australian birds - and in a number of cases I have to say they were correct.  I have to say that it does make me smile when such comments come from bloggers who post pictures of Northern Cardinals and Humming birds!

So, just to prove that not all Australian birds are incandescently bright, I give you the Orange-Footed Scrubfowl.  It's one of the few birds I know of that have more brightly coloured feet than feathers!

This bird was feeding in a garden on Magnetic Island, Queensland, when I saw it.  The adult normally have a small, stiff, crest.  But even that is missing on this individual - I suspect it may be a well grown juvenile.  The scientific name for this species - Megapodius reinwardt - makes reference to its large feet.  ("Mega" as in large, and "pod" as in foot).

For all of this birds lack of colour, it still does have a trick or two up its feathered sleeve to keep us interested.  This bird belongs to a group called the "Mound Builders" - and that is exactly what they do.  They scrape together large piles of leaf litter to form natural compost piles, and into those piles they place their eggs.  The heat released as decomposition occurs incubates the eggs.  Some Mound Builders add or remove material during the incubation period to regulate the temperature of the eggs, but the Orange-Footed Scrubfowl seems to rely on getting the eggs buried in an appropriate location in the first place.  Some of the mounds they build are huge - maybe even a big as 150m in circumference!

Just to finish off the story, this bird roosts in trees, which seem a good idea for a roast sized bird!





Now it's over to you - and I'm sure your birds will have brighter colours, but maybe smaller feet!
Don't forget to visit as many other WBWers are you can, and (as ever) feel free to invite along new bloggers.

54 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

such powerful legs! and those claws! neat bird!

Andrew Fulton said...

Another newbie for me Stewart...

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Stewart Yes I have seen this bird but it is usually quite elusive and hard to find, in my experience and I certainly have never got a good shot like you have posted here. thanks for hosting.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

So, "Bigfoot" is alive and well in Australia! Interesting life history info and photos.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

These are quite pretty!!!

Sylvia K said...

Yes, this is a new one for me, too. Quite a pair of legs and claws!! Handsome fellow!

Karen said...

It may not be colourful, but it's sure unique looking. Those big feet are pretty funny. Great shots Stewart, thanks for hosting.

Jo said...

What an interesting bird! Thanks for sharing their nesting habits. It seems incredible! Thanks for hosting this, my favorite, meme, Stewart. I'll link my post to yours tomorrow (Wednesday) Greetings from Jo

Kristi Bowman said...

Yes very interesting. As others have mention such stout legs and feet but what a tiny little head. Cute!!

cobie en bas van Es said...

heel mooi en hij staat er ook echt zoals hij is.

Frank said...

Just like a Coot and Moorhen .. the feet are the more interesting feature.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Big strong feet and legs. I can almost her ZZ Top's "Legs" in the backround. :)

i stora drag said...

Yes, that was really a colorful bird, oops colorful feets I mean!
Nice to see! :)

edenhills said...

Those are some big feet! Interesting that they build mounds.

mrbennettkent said...

Great shot of this fascinating Bird Stewart. I spent some quality time with one in Cape Tribulation and it just pottered about scratching in the leaves and doing its own thing quite unphased by my presence. Sadly I did not get to see one of the nest mounds, that must be quite a sight!

Montanagirl said...

Wow, I've never seen anything like it! It's little head seems too small for its body!

mick said...

Great photos as usual Stewart. So many birds still to find and so many places still to go - and so little time!!

Gemma Wiseman said...

Such powerful looking legs and claws for what seems like a rather "ïnnocent" bird. Great shots.

Karen said...

Cute looking bird, nice photos too.

Florida Farm Girl said...

I'm amazed. The feet and body are so big, yet the head and neck are so small!! Lovely bird anyway.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

cool-looking bird :)

eileeninmd said...

Stewart, they do have big and colorful feet..The mound nest sound neat, I hope the eggs stay safe.. Great photos! Thank you for hosting, have a happy week!

Gunsside said...

Beautiful bird, With very big feet :) Nice shots

Gail Dixon said...

Very cool. I've never seen that bird before. Reminds me of our coots. Nice photos!

Chris Rohrer said...

And yet still a wonderful bird:) I've never heard of this one before. Very nice! I bird through you. Australia is fascinating!

Mama Zen said...

Those feet are awesome!

Brian King said...

Very cool bird! The head is prehistoric looking!

Susan said...

Your first words rang with me Stewart, I'm always in awe at those brilliant Cardinals and Hummingbirds!

I really enjoyed your description of the scrub fowl and your photos. It's always fascinated me, those mound egg layers - they have to constantly monitor their clutch. Such powerful feet and legs... certainly built for shifting tonnes of dirt and debris in their lifetime :D)

thewovenspoke said...

Wow, look at those feet and toenails! I'm sure that would be a roasted bird if it didn't roost in trees.

bettyl-NZ said...

You always have such interesting birds!

Marlee said...

My birds weren't particularly colorful today, but I sure enjoyed the orange feet on your bird! Thanks for hosting WBW. ~Marlee~

Marie said...

He's fascinating! Kind've prehistoric-looking! :-) You got some great photos of his, and I loved learning about his mound-building abilities and his tree-roosting (reminds me of a guinea fowl in a way, too!)

By the way, Linky won't take my photo so I can link up with this week's post. I'll keep trying!

Felicia said...

he's rather fascinating to look at. I wouldn't want him to stick those claws in me.

Felicia

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Good grief those feet are HUGE! And OK, though he may not be as exotically colored as some (most?) of your birds, he has quite the exotic habits -- amazing to think of those mounds. Wow.

Irma said...

Beautiful bird, feet are really great.
Well done Stewart.
Greetings Irma

Phil Slade said...

Some serious looking legs and feet there Stewart. Not one to tangle with as a bird ringer.

Thanks for your hosting again.

Jane of Levant said...

Hello Stewart - that bird has similarities to the Purple Gallinule - that we saw in the Albufera Marshes in Marjorca last year - lovely pictures - Jane UK

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Sounds like what it lacks in color it makes up for in personality :)

Roan said...

New one for me. The feet remind me of an old rooster Grandpa used to have that chased me around the barnyard a few times. Cool bird!

bailey-road.com said...

Cool-looking bird. Looks like he was put together by a committee.

Gary Phillips said...

Wow!! What feet. Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

Nette Cecilia said...

Handsome bird ,Nette

Black Jack's Carol said...

Well, my bird might have brighter colours, but it sure doesn't have the amazing focus you achieved. As for "roast-sized".. just a groan from this vegan :) Thanks for the wonderful job you do with this meme, Stewart!

Max-e said...

Australia has some very different birds.

Andrea Priebe said...

The name seems so demeaning and he really is a healthy, handsome looking bird. I love the orange feet and he seems to be quiet self confident. Orange-footed Scrubfowl just doesn't work for me. Something like Midnight Tangerine-footed Fowl would have a little more romantic ring to it ... don't you think? Unusual and gorgeous ... every bit as handsome as the Cardinal in his own way :)

Andrea @ From The Sol

A Quiet Corner said...

Oh, Stewart! Every time I'm here I remember the birds I got pix of while in Aruba in the marsh...I just have to remember to post them!!!...:)JP

Christian Perrin said...

I really wanted to see one of these on my trip up north last year but missed out! I don't think they are particularly rare either, so not sure why I 'dipped'.

Great photos you've taken here Stewart - I knew they had orange feet but I had no idea they were so disproportionately large!

Shey Wicklund said...

Very interesting bird and info. Look at those mega claws. Great photos, Stewart.

Gillian Olson said...

Interesting bird, new to me.

Liz said...

I love the look he is giving to you!
I'd also add the Sooty Oystercatcher to that list.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Yah, I know. It's Friday. The linkup refused to appear on my browser this week. This morning it magically appeared. I've been posting so great birds this week. Poke around SMU if you have the time.

Sheila at WolfSongBlog.Com said...

What an usual bird, pretty! My husband and I hope to travel to Australia! It would be great fun to add to my list with Australia's beautiful birds!

Sheila at WolfSongBlog.Com said...

What an usual bird, pretty! My husband and I hope to travel to Australia! It would be great fun to add to my list with Australia's beautiful birds!

Pat Tillett said...

Big colorful legs and feet, a big body and an little tiny head!
Cool looking. Nice pics!