Family Megapodes (Megapodiidae)

Near Threatened

Tanimbar Scrubfowl (Megapodius tenimberensis)


French: Mégapode des Tanimbar German: Tanimbar-Großfußhuhn Spanish: Talégalo de Tanimbar
Other common names: Tanimbar Megapode

Megapodius tenimberensis

P. L. Sclater

, 1883,

Lutu and Kirimun, Tanimbar Islands


Formerly included in M. freycinet, and subsequently in M. reinwardt, but recently split#R#R. Differs from M. reinwardt in lack of pronounced crest (2), proportionately shorter tail despite same foot dimensions (2), paler coloration (2), and no chestnut tinge to rump and tail (2). Similar in proportions to both M. cumingii and M. freycinet#R, but differs from latter in pale grey-brown rather than blackish plumage (3), blackish-red vs blackish-green or blackish-yellow legs (2), and longer wing than the longest-winged form of M. freycinet#R (2). Molecular studies, however, indicate close relationship to geographically distant M. cumingii#R, suggesting a relict distribution. Monotypic.


Tanimbar Is.

Descriptive notes

35–47 cm. A large megapode with very short pointed nuchal crest. Plumage is mainly brownish-olive, more chestnut on back and charcoal-grey below; pale bill and red bare skin... read more


Said to differ from calls of M. reinwardt and M. freycinet, and also from those... read more


Inhabits primary forest, old selectively logged forest, and tall secondary semi-evergreen forest;... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Presumably digs for small invertebrates on forest floor. Observed singly and in pairs.


Few data. Mound-builder.


Presumed sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Confined to main island of Yamdena, where widespread but generally sparsely distributed throughout lowlands.... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Tanimbar Scrubfowl (Megapodius tenimberensis). 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 5 December 2019).