Threats to Malleefowl
The overall number of Malleefowl have declined significantly, even in the past 20 years. Habitat loss was, and continues to be, the biggest threat, with much of their former range cleared for agriculture or substantially modified by sheep, cattle, goats and rabbits. Their remaining distribution is severely fragmented, and isolated populations increase the species’ risk of extinction.
Despite its keen hearing and eyesight, all lifecycle stages (eggs, chicks and adults) are predated by foxes and feral cats.
Malleefowl are also sensitive to fire – breeding is reduced for up to 40 years in burnt areas because they require long-unburnt habitat with lots of leaf litter to build and maintain their mounds and provide food resources.
What’s Bush Heritage doing?
Malleefowl are found on Charles Darwin Reserve, Eurardy Reserve, Hamelin Station Reserve and several Gondwana Link reserves. Our ecologists monitor Malleefowl mounds and our reserve managers control fox and cat populations to give Malleefowl chicks (and eggs) a fighting chance.
Lawan Reserve (named after the Dja Dja Wurrung word for Malleefowl) is one of our central Victorian Reserves, and provides suitable habitat for a population of Malleefowl on the neighbouring Wychitella Nature Conservation Reserve to expand its range.
Through fire management , we aim to maintain long-unburnt areas critical for successful breeding, and manage total grazing pressure to improve habitat condition.