The scrubfowl are the genus Megapodius of the mound-builders, stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet in the family Megapodiidae. They are found from south-east Asia to north Australia and islands in the west Pacific.

Orange-footed scrubfowl
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Megapodiidae
Genus: Megapodius
Gaimard, 1823

13 total, 12 extant, see text.

They do not incubate their eggs with their body heat in the orthodox way, but bury them. They are best known for building a massive mound of decaying vegetation, which the male attends, adding or removing litter to regulate the internal heat while the eggs hatch. The species in taxonomic order are:

ImageScientific nameCommon NameDistribution
Megapodius pritchardiiTongan megapodeTonga
Megapodius laperouseMicronesian megapodePalau and the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam
Megapodius nicobariensisNicobar megapodeNicobar Islands (India)
Megapodius cumingiiPhilippine megapodeBorneo, Sulawesi and the Philippines.
Megapodius bernsteiniiSula megapodeBanggai and Sula Islands between Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands in Indonesia
Megapodius tenimberensisTanimbar megapodeTanimbar Islands of Indonesia
Megapodius freycinetDusky megapodeMaluku and Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia.
Megapodius geelvinkianusBiak scrubfowlBiak, Mios Korwar, Numfor, Manim and Mios Numin in the West Papua region of Indonesia.
Megapodius eremitaMelanesian megapodeBismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea) and the Solomon Islands.
Megapodius layardiVanuatu megapodeVanuatu
Megapodius affinisNew Guinea scrubfowlNew Guinea,
Megapodius reinwardtOrange-footed scrubfowlLesser Sunda Islands as well as southern New Guinea and northern Australia.

In all of the above, the name "scrubfowl" is sometimes exchanged with "megapode". Traditionally, most have been listed as subspecies of M. freycinet, but today all major authorities consider this incorrect. Nevertheless, there are unresolved issues within the genus, and for example the taxon forstenii has been considered a subspecies of M. freycinet, a subspecies of M. cumingii, or a monotypic species. An additional species, the Moluccan megapode, has sometimes been placed in Megapodius, but today most place it in the genus Eulipoa instead. The maleo is also associated with these genera, and together the three form a group.

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