Melanesian Scrubfowl Megapodius eremita

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Identification

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A large-bodied, small-headed bird of odd proportions. Plumage is mostly dark, with dark legs and a dark head, but in good light shows a yellowish bill and reddish bare skin on the forehead with a very short light gray crest. Can be found in a variety of habitats, but prefers tall forest with an open understory. Often tame and approachable around settlements. Separable in the field from New Guinea Scrubfowl by much plainer dark plumage, smaller crest, and less extensive red on the head. Very vocal and loud, especially in the morning and evening, giving strange warbling catlike cries, “ME-ow, meow,” with the first note being higher pitched than the rest.

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