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Australian Natural History Series

Darryl Jones  
Ann Goth  

Colour photographs, Illustrations
128 pages
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

This book is no longer available in print.

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Mound-builders are unique in being the only birds that do not incubate their eggs using body heat; rather, a variety of naturally occurring sources of heat is exploited such as solar energy and the heat generated by decomposing organic matter. This book shows how this remarkable adaptation influences every part of these birds’ lives, including the development of the embryo, the parentless life of the hatchlings, their social organisation and their survival.

Twenty-two species of mound-builders exist within the Megapode family. Mound-builders examines the three occurring in Australia: the Scrubfowl in the humid tropics; the Brush turkey in dense forested areas from Cape York to Sydney; and most remarkable of all, the Malleefowl in the arid interior.

Scientific interest in these birds has increased considerably in recent decades, and Mound-builders summarises many significant discoveries. With a strong emphasis on conservation and changing interactions between mound-builders and people, this is an excellent introduction to one of the most unusual bird families.


  • First comprehensive review of megapode research for over a decade
  • Detailed comparison of the three Australian species
  • Excellent introduction to one of the most unusual bird families
  • Written by the two foremost authorities in the field
  • First popular descriptions of many recent highly significant discoveries
  • Clear and jargon-free language
  • Strong emphasis on conservation and changing interactions between mound-builders and people

 Naturalists, ornithologists, bird watchers, conservationists, libraries, universities and general nature-lovers. 

 "Overall, this book is well written, eminently readable and pitched appropriately to be accessible to interested amateur and professional ornithologists alike. Line drawings and maps are clear and informative. The tables summarising the special adaptations of eggs, embryos and chicks are an excellent idea and help one to assimilate the key points easily."
Alan Lill, Australian Field Ornithology, Vol 27, 2010

"Overall this small book provides an excellent introduction into the fascinating lives of mound-builders, leaving the more inquisitive reader with a large list of references for further reading."
Sharon Gillam, South Australian Ornithologist, Vol 35 No 7, November 2009

"After reading this logically assembled and well illustrated book I can safely say I have developed a newfound appreciation for these remarkable birds and I look forward to my next encounter."
Robbie Burns, Land for Wildlife South East Queensland, July 2009

"…an easy to read text that will provide useful summary information for scientists, managers and all interested parties."
Ornithological Society of New Zealand journal Notornis, 2009

"Any reader wishing to learn more about Australian mound-builders in an accessible format will find this book of interest. It increased my knowledge and understanding of this family and certainly highlights the unique biology of these birds."
Martin O’Brien, The Victorian Naturalist, June 2009

"…this recent publication by Jones and Goth fills a niche as an up-to-date, popular account of Australian megapodes."
Elaine Davison, The Naturalist News, April 2009

"…this book will join the line of well thumbed predecessors on my natural history shelves."
Ian Fraser, May 2009

"For those in Australia living with mound-builders as neighbours, this is an essential and enjoyable read."
Tim Birkhead, IBIS, 2009

"…overall it is a good read, well written in an informative yet easy to read style and on the whole the synopsis is sound and informative. It would make a good reference and resource, and I would recommend it to anyone."
Frank Hemmings, Linn Soc News, April 2009

"Any reader wishing to learn more about Australian mound-builders in an accessible format will find this book of interest."
Martin O'Brien, The Bird Observer, April 2009


 Darryl Jones from Griffith University has been studying mound-building birds for 30 years, and has observed them in the wild throughout Australia and in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. He is a co-founder of the Megapode Specialist Group, affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and is one of the authors of the authoritative monograph The Megapodes. He is especially interested in their behavioural ecology and is currently investigating the unexpectedly successful invasion of Australian Brush-turkeys into suburbia.

Ann Goth, originally from Austria, first worked on megapode birds in Tonga, and then conducted her PhD studies on the Australian Brush-turkey at Griffith University in Brisbane. She continued to work on these birds while at Macquarie University in Sydney. Today, she works for the Department of Environment and Climate Change in Sydney.

Related Titles
 Wildlife Conservation in Farm Landscapes    Circle   The East Asian–Australasian Flyway: Population Trends, Threats and the Future   An Atlas of the Birds of NSW and the ACT Volume 2    Australian Wildlife After Dark    Seabirds of the World    Gift Vouchers  


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