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Mound-builders

(Family Megapodiidae)

Three species of these mostly ground-dwelling birds are found in Australia. They are collectively known as mound-builders or megapodes (large feet) from the mounds of rotting vegetation they use to incubate their eggs, which can number over thirty in a single mound. The temperature of the mound is carefully monitored by the male, but the chicks must fend for themselves from the moment they hatch. The Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami is endemic, as is the Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, while the wider ranging Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt also occurs in New Guinea and eastern Indonesia.

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