Rescuing our malleefowl

As part of a national recovery plan, Western Australia is playing a significant part in the conservation of the endangered malleefowl. You can help too.

This elusive, ground dwelling bird, once common, has been in serious decline over the last one hundred years. It is recognised as threatened wherever it occurs in Australia and in WA it is listed as vulnerable fauna under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Malleefowl mounds may be used over many generations. The eggs laid in the mound are buried to incubate in the warmth of the composting litter. Photo credit: Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre

The malleefowl gets its name from its habitat (scrubland and woodland dominated by mallee and wattle species). It is famous for its ability to build and maintain enormous nesting mounds.

The Parks and Wildlife Service of WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) lists the following as the main threats.

  • Habitat clearing for agriculture and mineral sand mining
  • Vulnerability due to fragmentation and isolation of remaining habitat
  • Competition for food resources with introduced herbivores (sheep, rabbits, cattle, goats) and with kangaroos
  • Predation by introduced predators (foxes and feral cats)
  • Increased frequency of wildfires and prescribed burning

To stop the decline, and support the recovery, of this listed threatened species, a National Recovery Plan is in place for the malleefowl. In Western Australia,  the DBCA and several other conservation organisations such as the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Bush Heritage Australia are making important contributions to this critical conservation effort.

There is valuable  community volunteer support, also, in areas such as reporting of bird sightings and nest mound monitoring. The WA Malleefowl Recovery Group (WAMRG) was formed in 2017 to raise awareness of the malleefowl decline and to promote community involvement in conservation efforts.

The Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre in Ongerup is a community owned and operated centre for environmental awareness and education, with special focus on conservation of the malleefowl and its bushland habitat. Yongergnow is situated in the Great Southern region, about halfway between Perth and Esperance.

If you think you have seen a malleefowl or a malleefowl mound, fill out a malleefowl report form (full or condensed version) and send it to

Malleefowl report form (full version)269.5 KB

Malleefowl report form (condensed version)178 KB