A member of the megapode bird family, which are typically stocky, chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet, the Orange Footed Scrubfowl is a common sight among the leaf ridden areas surrounding Thala.

Also found in the islands of Wallacea and southern New Guinea, as well as other parts of northern Australia, this aerodynamic headed creature is somewhat of a romantic, forming permanent pair bonds with its sexual counterpart.

pair of orange footed scrubfowl

The Orange Footed Scrubfowl also appears to be a capricious creature, as it typically discards its young (who are capable of flight almost immediately) after hatching, leaving them to fend entirely for themselves, while it’s fiercely territorial and will vigorously defend its plot from any intruder.

This plot consists of a large incubation mound made out of decaying vegetable matter, which can reach up to 3.5 metres in height and 12 metres in diameter. This proves to be rather practical, as the decaying matter produces a heat source ideally suited for incubation. However this is the result of careful site selection rather than any ingenious method of construction.

single scrubfowl

Often more than one pair of scubfowl use this nest, so that it can produce large numbers of young each season. And if not disturbed by feral pigs, which typically hunt for their eggs, the nest can be used for decades.

When not hovering around its home, the Orange-footed Scrubfowl can be found feeding on fallen fruit and terrestrial invertebrates. And at night, it can often heard producing a gargled sound, along with a resounding caw, both which are considered territorial. Interestingly, this call is heard more frequently during nesting season and often consists of a duet between the male and female.