The Dusky Megapode
or Dusky Scrubfowl
, Megapodius freycinet
, is a medium-sized (approximately 41 cm long), blackish bird
with a short pointed crest, bare red facial skin, dark legs, brown iris
and dark brown and yellow bill
. The male and female are similar. This terrestrial
species lives in forests and swamps, including mangroves
, of the Maluku
and Raja Ampat Islands
. Like other megapodes
, it lays its eggs in a mound
made from earth mixed with leaves, sand, gravel and sticks.
Many authorities include the Biak Scrubfowl
as a subspecies
of this species, but the two are increasingly treated as separate species. At the same time, many authorities consider the taxon forstenii
a separate species, Forsten's Megapode (M. forstenii
), but measurements and molecular evidence suggests the two are very close,Birks, S. M., & Edwards, S. V. (2002). A phylogeny of the megapodes (Aves: Megapodidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 23: 408-421. and arguably better considered conspecific
. Traditionally, most members of the genus Megapodius
have been listed as subspecies of M. freycinet
, but today all major authorities consider this incorrect.
The specific name
commemorates the French
explorer Louis Claude Desaulses de Freycinet
A fairly common species throughout a large part of its range, the Dusky Scrubfowl is evaluated as Least Concern
on the IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species.