Family Megapodes (Megapodiidae)


Nicobar Scrubfowl (Megapodius nicobariensis)


French: Mégapode des Nicobar German: Nikobar-Großfußhuhn Spanish: Talégalo de Nicobar
Other common names: Nicobar Megapode, North Nicobar Megapode (nicobariensis), South Nicobar Megapode (abbotti)

Megapodius nicobariensis


, 1846,

Nicobar Islands


Formerly included in M. freycinet. Apparently very close to M. cumingii#R, with which it shares the lack of a duetting territorial call#R. Races rather similar, abbotti only slightly smaller and paler#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. nicobariensis#R Blyth, 1846 – C Nicobar Is (Teressa, Bompoka, Tillanchong, Camorta, Trinkat, Katchall, Nancowry).
  • M. n. abbotti#R Oberholser, 1919 – S Nicobar Is (Meroe, Treis, Menchal, Little Nicobar, Great Nicobar, Kondul; formerly also Megapode and Trax, prior to 2004 tsunami#R).
  • Descriptive notes

    37–43 cm; male 595–907 g, female 850–1021 g. Sexes alike in plumage and size, but species is polymorphic with grey and olive morphs, plus intermediates;... read more


    Unknown if any differences between the subspecies; following refers to abbotti.... read more


    Occurs in dense forest undergrowth, both dry deciduous and evergreen forests as well as second... read more

    Food and feeding

    Snails, seeds, other plant matter, insects, etc.; species recorded include beetle Scarabus plicatus and snail Helicina... read more


    Can occur more or less year-round, but perhaps mainly restricted to dry season (Nov/Dec to Apr). Monogamous. Mound builder; constructs... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Mace Lande: nicobariensis Vulnerable; abbotti Safe/Vulnerable. Total population of race nicobariensis formerly placed at 100–10,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Elliott, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Nicobar Scrubfowl (Megapodius nicobariensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 3 April 2020).