About the MalleeFowl

A Personal Story

Malleefowl at the Adelaide Zoo

One of the ways I keep my creative edge is to travel. In 1998, I spoke at the Australian Association for Psychological Type's conference in Brisbane, Australia. In doing some pre-trip research, I discovered that Australia has many amazing animals with fascinating stories about surviving in changing environments. One bird that particularly intrigues me is the Malleefowl.

The Malleefowl Story

The Malleefowl, which looks like a large pheasant, does things very differently. Known as the bird with the built-in thermometer, it can serve as a metaphor for a creative leader. In the autumn, the male digs a deep hole. He and his mate fill it with leaf litter and then use soil to build a large mound up to 22 meters in circumference. While the female is occupied with laying eggs in the mound, the male is busy maintaining the mound's temperature at roughly 33 degrees C so that the eggs can incubate and hatch. He uses his beak to monitor the temperature in the mound. He adds or subtracts soil from the mound in order to maintain the right temperature.

Malleefowl mound
Lynne behind a typical Malleefowl Mound

When the egg hatches, the chick has to fight its way to the top of the mound. After reaching the top, it is able to run within two hours and fly within 24 hours. The chick is on its own, since the adult birds provide no parental care to their offspring. Many don't make it, because of animal predators and the clearing, grazing, and frequent burning of their habitats by humans. In fact, the Malleefowl is now classified in Australia as "rare or likely to become extinct. "

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For more information on this fascinating bird and the efforts to preserve it:

Malleefowl Preservation Group Inc.
Post Office Box 29
Ongerup 6336
Western Australia

Tel: 08 9828 2007
Fax: 08 9828 2018