Survival of malleefowl Leipoa ocellata chicks in the absence of ground-dwelling predators

  • Published source details Priddel D. & Wheeler R. (1990) Survival of malleefowl Leipoa ocellata chicks in the absence of ground-dwelling predators. Emu, 90, 81-87.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food after release

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food after release

    A replicated controlled trial in New South Wales, Australia, in 1987 (Priddel & Wheeler 1990) found that significantly more malleefowl Leipoa ocellata chicks survived the first 30 days after release when provided with supplementary food, compared to control (unfed) birds, birds provided only with water or birds supplied with water but kept in an enclosure with 15 rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus (89% of nine fed chicks survived for 30 days vs. all 20 other chicks surviving for less than 20 days, with 85% dying within eight days of release). The one fed bird that died survived for six days before being drenched in heavy rain and dying. Of the other releases, six were killed by raptors, five died of starvation, five died of chilling following heavy rain, two died of unknown causes, one died of a cloacal blockage, and one was removed after it fractured its leg. All were found to have little or no food in the crop or gizzard, suggesting that food shortage was a contributing factor in all their deaths. Eggs were taken from wild nesting mounds, artificially incubated and released into 1 ha enclosures with electric fences to keep out mammalian predators. Food supplied consisted of 24 kg of seed mix in both feeders and spread on the ground and replenished at least once a week.


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