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This species is classified as Endangered because it has a very small population restricted to two tiny islands. Although the population on Fonualei, where it was recently introduced, is likely to be stable the population on Niuafo'ou is suspected to be undergoing a continuing decline, owing to egg harvesting and predation (Baker et al. in press). If a population on the larger island of Late could also be established, then downlisting to Vulnerable may be warranted.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
38 cm. Medium-sized, brown-and-grey megapode. Mostly brownish-grey, paler on head and neck, browner on back and wings, with short, rounded crest on nape. Feathers of face and throat sparse, allowing red skin to show through. Yellow bill. Yellow to light red legs and feet. Similar spp. Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis has bold bars and much longer bill. Immature Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio larger with white undertail-coverts. Feral chickens have prominent tails. Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis smaller and darker with red eyes and legs. Voice Three-part whistle kway-kwee-krrrr from male, usually uttered in duet with female krrrr. Both male and female can initiate the duet.
Todd, D. 1983. Pritchard's Megapode on Niuafo'ou Island, Kingdom of Tonga. World Pheasant Association Journal: 69-68.
Rinke, D. R.; Soakai, L. H.; Usback, A. 1993. Koe Malau Life. Brehm Fund for International Conservation, Bonn.
Rinke, D. 1994. The Malau on Fonualei in Northern Tonga. World Pheasant Association News 44: 7-8.
Göth, A.; Vogel, U. 1995. Status of the Polynesian Megapode Megapodius prithchardii on Niufo'ou (Tonga). Bird Conservation International 5: 117-129.
SPREP. 1999. Proceedings of the Polynesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop held in Rarotonga, 26-30 April 1999.
Dekker, R. W. R. J.; Fuller, R. A.; Baker, G. C. 2000. Megapodes. Status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. IUCN and World Pheasant Association, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Watling, D. 2004. No sign of translocated Polynesian Megapodes on Late Island, Kingdom of Tonga. Megapode Newsletter 18: 4.
Baker, G.C.; Dekker, R.W. R.J.; Keane, A.M. in press. Megapodes: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and World Pheasant Association, Gland, Switzerland & Cambridge, UK.
Lloyd, H., Torres-Sovero, C. and Faka'osi, S. 2011. Conservation Strategy for the Polynesian Megapode Megapodius pritchardii on Niuafo'ou, Tonga. World Pheasant Association, Newcastle, UK and Tonga Community Development Trust, Tongatapu, Tonga.
Göth, A. and Vogel, U. 1997. Egg laying and incubation of the Polynesian megapode Megapodius pritchardii. In: K.C.R. Howman (ed.), Ann. Rev.. World Pheasant Association 1996/97, Reading.
Further web sources of information
Hear sounds for this species from xeno-canto, the community database of shared bird sounds from around the world.
Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Keane, A., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A.
Dekker, R., Fakaosi, D., Göth, A., Matevalea, C., Watling, D.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Megapodius pritchardii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2013.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Endangered|
|Species name author||Gray, 1864|
|Population size||450-650 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||70 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|