Tongan Megapode

Don’t worry, you still have a lot to see of the talegan family. Don’t think one day’s worth of investigating them all will be enough for you. Today we bring you a specimen that is currently in danger of extinction.

Where does it extend?

This species is known by the name of Tongan Megapode or Polynesian talegala, and by the scientific name of Megapodius pritchardii. It is endemic to the jungles of the island Niuafo´ou, north of Tonga.

Megapodius pritchardii

It is the only member of its genus to be found in Tonga and was once thought to be more widespread when the man had not yet arrived in the area, named in honour of the British Consul William Thomas Pritchard.

What does it look like?

It is a medium-sized bird measuring between 28 and 35 cm. The male usually weighs between 315-385 grams, while the female can weigh up to 350 grams.

The plumage of its body is almost entirely covered by a dark plumage with light shimmering shades of blue. The feathers in the area of his head look more furry than feathers, in a bluish tone even lighter than that of his body.

Polynesian talegala

In the old days, his face seemed to be free of feathers under his eyes, leaving a reddish line running through him from side to side. The lower feathers of the wings are lighter in tone, something that is only noticeable when the wings are extended. Its beak and legs are yellowish in colour.

Any word on this species?

Although it is a species known to be in danger of extinction, and there are currently only about 680-970 adult specimens, it has not been extensively researched to obtain information on the species.

Its breeding season seems to be between April and May, although it can be brought forward to January and February. Interestingly, unlike other members of the talegal family, this species may be monogamous and spend its entire life with the same partner, unlike other family members who mate with several females and several males during the breeding season.

Tongan Scrubfowl

Their food is composed almost entirely of insects, eating some small lizards, centipedes and worms to complete the diet and receive enough nutrients to survive.

Since 1960 this species has been protected. In the past, it appeared to be the target of hunters from the area. In addition, the arrival of humans in the area meant the arrival of some predators, such as cats and rodents.

There’s not much information about how they raise their young. It could be that they follow the same example as other talegalos and put their eggs in a hole covered in sand, but no evidence has been found that this is the case. So it is estimated that this species does hatch eggs.

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