Fun Nicobar Megapode Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Nicobar megapode facts which are fun and informative.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Nicobar scrubfowl (Megapodius nicobariensis) belongs to the family Megapodiidae and the order Galliformes. They are also known as Nicobar megapodes, and their distribution can be observed in the Nicobar Islands of India. Females generally lay around four to five eggs per season. When the chicks grow up, they move out of the mound of the nest and become ready for their flight. These birds have massive legs and feet, and they are found foraging for food in the coastal forests of the Nicobar Islands for insects, reptiles, seeds, and nuts.

These species of Nicobar scrubfowl are restricted to small islands as they are threatened by hunting, and their conservation status has been considered to be vulnerable. The 2004 tsunami resulted in the decline of these birds from many islands and also reduced their population on various other islands too. They look somewhat like a chicken and turkey mixed, with dark shade plumage, short tail, feet, and claws. They are active birds and can run fast compared to hens due to their strong and thick legs. These birds do not fly much, though they have wings.

To learn more facts about other birds species, you can also check out these bobwhite quail facts and black and white warbler facts.

Nicobar Megapode Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nicobar megapode?

Nicobar scrubfowl (Megapodius nicobariensis) is a species of megapode birds, from the order Galliformes. This species consists of 22 species of several colors like brown, yellow, and gray, and they look like turkeys. They are found in the range of Indonesia, Australia, and islands in the Indian Ocean and Polynesia. They inhabit tropical and subtropical lowlands.

What class of animal does a Nicobar megapode belong to?

The Nicobar megapode (Megapodius nicobariensis) belongs to the Aves class of animals from the phylum Chordata. Their population was all cleared in the 2004 tsunami on some islands. Information regarding the description of this bird has been collected by Reverend Jean Pierre Barbe and described by Edward Blyth in 1846. Their nominate subspecies are paler in coloration than the Abbotti from the southern islands of the Sombrero Channel.

How many Nicobar megapodes are there in the world?

The exact population of these birds is unknown. Most of the species are found in islands, forest areas, and lowlands.

Where does a Nicobar megapode live?

As per information acquired, they live in Little Nicobar, Kondul, Great Nicobar, and Megapode Island in forests, subtropical and tropical lowlands.

What is a Nicobar megapode's habitat?

This species of megapode lives in India on the Nicobar and Andaman islands. Their habitat highly consists of islands and forest areas. The family of megapode was wiped from several Islands during the tsunami of 2004.

Who do Nicobar megapodes live with?

Megapodes are solitary birds, and they come together as pairs only when the breeding season approaches.

How long does a Nicobar megapode live?

This species of birds have a lifespan of around 10 years but they can live up to 15 years based on their lifestyle and habitat.

How do they reproduce?

These birds are secretive during the breeding season and are found moving in forests during the day and near the shore at night. Their distribution has been carried out in small groups of birds and many species of this genus are known to live in monogamous pairs, and often these birds form pair bonds. The birds build a large unique mound nest and according to a survey, the mounds are built near coastal areas, materials used for making these mounds are coral sand and minute cells, which also contain plant materials such as leaves, twigs, and other debris where the parents bury the eggs. Mounds are constructed by the birds in open ground or on trees and the pair may share the mound. Nicobar megapode eggs are elongated and elliptical in shape. The egg-laying process begins mainly from February to May and the eggs are pinkish without any markings and lose their color as they are ready to hatch. Around four to five eggs are laid at a time, but later it was discovered that it might lay up to 10 eggs in different stages of development. The incubation period is of 70-80 days. The Nicobar megapode feather is seen at the time of a young's birth. Chicks do not need any care from their parents from the beginning, as they immediately join other birds of their kind.

What is their conservation status?

Two subspecies of the megapode include Megapodius nicobariensis and Megapodius nicobariensis abbotti, which was later discovered by Edward Blyt in 1846. According to history, it was declared that this species is not endangered and threatened. The conservation status of this bird is Vulnerable according to the IUCN.

Nicobar Megapode Fun Facts

What do Nicobar megapodes look like?

Nicobar megapodes have a red face with dark gray to black body coloration.

*Please note, this is an image of a Tabon scrubfowl, not a Nicobar scrubfowl. If you have an image of a Nicobar scrubfowl, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

Nicobar megapodes look similar to turkeys. They have short tails with 12 feathers, and their head is grayer with a rufous crest and bare reddish facial skin. The males and females are very similar, but the male is dark brown while the female has gray on the underparts. The young ones have small quill-like with rufous barring on their wings and back. They have a body length of around 17 in (43 cm) and weigh around 20.9-36 oz (595-1021 g). They have big, strong feet and claws. They make their nest on the ground and reside on islands.

How cute are they?

They are not so cute due to their dark and wild coloration. However, the chicks look quite adorable.

How do they communicate?

It is said that they sing in the dark, giving out a series of low-pitched wails, which then reach a crescendo, culminating in a loud, metallic clattering sound.

How big is a Nicobar megapode?

They have a total body length of around 17 in (43.1 cm), which is 10 times larger than a pink pigeon.

How fast can a Nicobar megapode fly?

Their flight is moderate and good, but it is said that they prefer to walk and run around more in areas of large forests. They take their flight at a fast pace from island to island. Still, their exact flight speed is unknown.

How much does a Nicobar megapode weigh?

A Nicobar megapode generally weighs around 20.9-36 oz (595-1021 g), which is six times bigger than a barn owl.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been used to describe the male and female Nicobar megapode.

What would you call a baby Nicobar megapode?

They are called chicks. The newborn chicks become independent right after birth.

What do they eat?

Their diet mainly consists of insects, snails, crustaceans, earthworms, and reptiles. Sometimes they move on the ground in search of food. They also forage for food, like seeds and nuts on the ground. They can be found searching for food in places with large or great vegetation.

Are they dangerous?

These birds living on Nicobar Island are a cause for concern, but they are not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Usually, these birds are not kept as pets as they are wild and it is not good to domesticate wild animals.

Did you know...

In 1901, W. L. Abbott collected systematic specimens from Little Nicobar, which were described in 1919 by H. C. Oberholser as a new subspecies.

Are Nicobar megapodes endangered?

In history, it is said that these birds were not threatened but now they are vulnerable to extinction. The threats faced by them are loss of ecology, overexploitation for food, and introduced predators.

How did Nicobar megapodes get their name?

They were named so because of their large feet and claws. They have similar physical features to turkeys.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our mountain chickadee facts and blue grouse facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Nicobar megapode coloring pages.

*Please note, the main image is of a Tabon scrubfowl, not a Nicobar scrubfowl. If you have an image of a Nicobar scrubfowl, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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