Orange-footed Scrubfowl Graham Winterflood/Flickr

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Did You Know?

  • Has low hatching rates due to predators such as foxes and monitor lizards
  • Can be found in New Guinea
  • They have a strong pair bond and often duet, meaning they synchronise and overlap their calls; As a 'primitive' species this complex behaviour is quite remarkable
FactBox Image

A medium sized bird with Orange legs and feet. Brown upper wing, head and neck. May have a blue tinted neck. It has a small downwards pointed tail with an orange/yellow beak.

It builds a mound for a nest made of a large heap of mostly decomposing organic matter (leaves, earth, sticks, debris, sand etc) that are circular or elongated.

Distinctive feature

A black crest on the top of the head.


40-50cm Tall



Loud clucks and double crows. Calls in territory but is quieter than most fowls.


Feeds on Berries and roots on the ground. Can feed on small beetles and other insects.


It can fly and does so when threatened by predators however cannot fly large distances.


Both sexes build circular or elongated mound out of objects on the ground. Eggs are laid here and incubated by decomposing material. Incubation lasts for up to 100 days as the female lays multiple small eggs once the mound reaches 30 degrees.

Field Guide

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Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

Occurs frequently at night. Breeding is from July to March.

Where To Look

  • Northern Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland
  • It is terrestrial and common around trees and areas with lots of leaf litter
  • Adapts well to urban life and can be found around residential gardens in Darwin
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

Looks similar to a Dusky Moorhen or Purple Swamphen however does not have the blue/pink feathers all over and can be distinguished by the black crest on its head.