Months of monitoring malleefowl mounds in the Wheatbelt has delivered a moment of pure joy, as Wheatbelt NRM captured a chick hatching for the first time on our cameras.
This chick dug its way up into the world in March at one of our sites, where we’ve had motion sensor cameras in action since November.
The endangered Malleefowl are elusive birds and footage like this is incredibly rare, showing the fruits of the labour we’ve spotted malleefowl pairs put in over many months tending to their mounds.
“This is our first clear footage of a chick hatching and emerging from the mound,” Wheatbelt NRM’s Alex Griffiths said.
"Needless to say we are excited about this footage because capturing breeding success like this gives us confidence we are working in the right places.
“We’ll hopefully be able to compare the timing of hatchings across our project sites as we learn more about malleefowl and their behaviour in the Wheatbelt.”
Malleefowl are known for their incredible leg strength and their chicks are no different.
Hatching inside the mound, chicks can climb through an incredible metre of soil to reach the surface.
Their parents dutifully tend to the mound, helping to break up soil to assist their youngling with its sometimes 15-hour journey to the surface.
After that, the chick is ready to face life on its own. Its parents have no role in its upbringing and it can run and feed itself immediately, and fly within a day of emerging from the mound.
It may be independent but the young malleefowl must be wary of threats, particularly from predators like foxes and cats that often stalk the bush malleefowl inhabit, as well as the rabbit populations that support these predators. Habitat loss is also a concern.
Assisting to set up feral animal control programs is one of the ways we can provide support to landholders in the region with malleefowl mounds on their property.
If you’re interested in helping protect malleefowl on your property so we can have more chicks like this popping up around the Wheatbelt, please click here or contact project delivery officer Kate Nicol by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.