Family Megapodes (Megapodiidae)


Tongan Scrubfowl (Megapodius pritchardii)


French: Mégapode de Pritchard German: Pritchard-Großfußhuhn Spanish: Talégalo de las Tonga
Other common names: Polynesian Scrubfowl, Polynesian Megapode, Tongan Megapode, Niuafoou Scrubfowl

Megapodius Pritchardii

G. R. Gray

, 1864,

Niuafo’ou, Tonga




Niuafo’ou I (NW Tonga); formerly on Niue#R. Introduced to Tafahi I (NE Tonga), but has apparently died out there; recently introduced to Late I and Fonualei I (NC Tonga).

Descriptive notes

c. 28–35 cm; male 315–385 g, female 310–500 g. Generally dark slaty grey, with short whitish crest; lower back, rump and wings washed reddish brown; white... read more


Trisyllabic whistle “kway-kwee-krrrr” from male, usually uttered in duet with female,... read more


Forages mainly in forested areas or thickets. On Niuafo’ou found in broadleaf forest in all... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly animal food. Prey identified by field observation included 53% insects, 25% land snails, 13% centipedes and 9% worms; most of prey... read more


Apparently all year, with peak in Apr–May, and fewest in Jan/Feb. Apparently monogamous and territorial (0·84 ha on average),... read more


Presumably sedentary. Only evidence of displacement is presence of birds breeding on island in... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Mace Lande: Endangered. Total population numbers only 680–970 mature individuals; considered to be declining. In 1976, estimated 820 birds in study area of... read more

Recommended citation

Elliott, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Tongan Scrubfowl (Megapodius pritchardii). 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).