Maleo Macrocephalon maleo

Type of Animal:

Tropical lowland & hill forest, open/semi-open sandy areas, volcanic soils, beaches, riverbanks, lake shores, coastal areas, lowland hills, not found in altitudes over 3,937 ft

Sulawesi & Buton

Blackish plumage, bare yellow facial skin, reddish-brown iris, reddish-orange beak, rosy salmon belly, dark gray legs, bony dark casque on head, juveniles have brownish paler heads w/ short blackish-brown chest & browner belly

Fruit, seeds, legumes, mollusks, insects

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos. Wildlife Conservation Society worked w/ local government officials to purchase 36 acres of beachfront property which was prime nesting habitat. Alliance for Tompotika Conservation works w/ local communities to educate locals about bird’s endangered status & prevent egg harvesting.

Often found in pairs or small flocks of up to 10 birds, communal/colonial nesters w/ colonies ranging from 3-20 pairs, possibly monogamous.

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock/Colony
Male: 3.15-3.88 lbs
Female: 3-3.58 lbs
Young: 1 lb

2-3 months 

Life Span:
20-40 years

Male: 2 ft
Female: 1.83 ft

Body Length:
2 ft, same for both sexes

Tail Length:
1 ft, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are pythons, monitor lizards, pigs, felids, & crocodiles. Snakes & lizards prey on young.
Often nests in volcanic or sandy areas letting sun or geothermal energy incubate eggs, digging deep pits.
Females lay 8-12 eggs a year, a single egg at a time.
Endangered due to forest fires, deforestation, habitat loss, human development, land conversion to agriculture, & egg poaching.
Rare in captivity, found in only 4 US zoos-Bronx, San Diego, Houston, & Tulsa.
After eggs hatch, chicks dig their up through sand, fending for themselves. Able to fly once they leave nest.
Very shy, often being nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn & dusk).
Sexually mature at 2 years old.
Prefer to run rather than fly.
Typically don’t vocalize outside of nesting grounds. At nesting sites, loud brays, gobbles, & quacks have been heard.

Fun Fact(s):
Female maleos in captivity often stop eating right before egg laying.
Sometimes called volcano birds due to habit of nesting in volcanic areas. Another name is Gray’s Brush Turkey.
Unlike other megapodes, they don’t lay eggs in mounds of vegetation.
Eggs 5 times size of chicken egg.

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