(Image by butupa via Wikimedia Commons)
The malleefowl is one of three Australian bird species that builds enormous mounds of soil and leaves in which to incubate its eggs, and is the only megapode that lives in dry inland scrub. About the size of a domestic chicken, malleefowl spend most of their time on the ground, preferring to live in shrublands and low woodlands with a high occurrence of mallee trees (hence their name). Their reproductive habits mean they need sandy ground with plenty of leaf litter for successful breeding.
Historically widespread across Australia, their range has reduced by over 50% and is now highly fragmented due to excessive land clearing. Much of the best habitat for Malleefowl has already been cleared or has been modified by grazing of sheep, cattle, rabbits and goats. Malleefowl are now recognised as a threatened species, and the fragmentation of their habitat is severely limiting efforts to reverse the decline of the species.
Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund plants a diverse mix of native species to restore degraded farmland and reconnect remnant bushland into large corridors of Australian bush, providing vital habitat for the malleefowl and allowing them to disperse through open landscapes.
In cooperation with Gondwana Link, 10 remotely activated cameras with day/night motion sensors were installed across our site at Terra Gratta to digitally capture evidence of fauna living on the property. Tina Schroeder, a PhD student from Murdoch University, downloaded over 3000 images at the completion of the project, and we were all delighted to learn that malleefowl were recorded in both the remnant vegetation and in our revegetated habitat, which was established in 2010.
Unfortunately there was also significant evidence of red foxes, feral pigs, feral cats and rabbits on the property, all of which pose threats to the malleefowl through predation or habitat destruction. These threats need to be properly managed as part of environmental management strategies to ensure our native species have the best chance of survival.
It’s time to restore Australia’s natural landscape, so that the malleefowl and the 1700 other threatened species in Australia have a safe place to call home.