Family Megapodes (Megapodiidae)

Least Concern

Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt)


French: Mégapode de Reinwardt German: Reinwardt-Großfußhuhn Spanish: Talégalo de Reinwardt
Other common names: Orange-footed Megapode

Megapodius Reinwardt

Dumont de Sainte Croix

, 1823,

Amboina; error = Lombok


Listed name “M. affinis” now known to be synonymous with present species#R. Formerly included in M. freycinet. Complex internal taxonomy, still poorly understood. Suggestion that macgillivrayi may be a hybrid form between present species and M. eremita#R requires investigation. Variation within Australian populations is slight and clinal, possibly warranting recognition of only one race, rather than three; proposed race melvillensis (Melville I) subsumed within tumulus. Birds of Aru Is and those of New Guinea have been awarded separate races, respectively aruensis and duperryii, but rarely accepted. Proposed race perrufus of Peleng (Banggai Is) has sometimes been included in present species, but almost certainly belongs in M. bernsteinii, and in any case of dubious validity. Despite extensive range, including many small, remote islands, subspecific differences are rather slight#R. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. r. reinwardt Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1823 – Lesser Sundas, SE Moluccas, Aru Is and NW, S & SE New Guinea; possibly also islands of Torres Strait, and perhaps this race in Kangean Is#R and some islands in Java Sea S of Kalimantan#R.
  • M. r. macgillivrayi G. R. Gray, 1862 – Trobriand, Marshall Bennett, Woodlark and D’Entrecasteaux Is and Louisiade Archipelago (off SE New Guinea); possibly also mainland SE New Guinea.
  • M. r. tumulus Gould, 1842 – N Australia from Kimberley Division (NE Western Australia) to Melville I and N Northern Territory.
  • M. r. yorki Mathews, 1929 – Cape York Peninsula (N Queensland) and offshore islands, possibly including those of Torres Strait.
  • M. r. castanonotus Mayr, 1938 – EC Queensland (Cooktown S to Yeppoon) and offshore islands.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–47 cm; male 851–1200 g, female 550–1200 g. Long pointed crest; plumage mostly brownish olive-grey, chestnut tinge on back; legs and feet orange to... read more


    Some geographical variation, although all forms are considered to be very vocal. Nominate ... read more


    Rainforest and variety of other wooded areas, including swamp-forest; sometimes ventures into more... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly plant food, including seeds, berries and roots; also fruits, shoots and flowers; occasionally young snakes, snails, scorpions, worms... read more


    Mainly Jul–Mar in NE Australia; peaks Nov–May in SE New Guinea, during and shortly after rains; mound use peaks in Mar (late... read more


    Occurrence on offshore islands (at least 20 km from known breeding sites) and in isolated patches... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population may number c. 100,000–1,000,000 individuals; generally stable. Widespread and common within Indonesian range,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Elliott, A., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt). 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 16 December 2019).