Malleefowl, as the name suggests, live in the mallee areas of Australia and are rated as nationally endangered. Large patches of unburnt mallee in South Australian parks provide important habitat for these unique birds.
Unlike most birds, malleefowl do not spend several weeks at a time sitting on eggs. Instead the eggs are buried in a sand and compost mound that produces enough heat to incubate the eggs. They dedicate up to eleven months a year caring for the nest, yet take no interest in their young once they have hatched.
Given that it's such a long and intensive process to create the right conditions for the eggs to hatch, it would be reasonable to expect that the workload is shared between the male and the female. In fact, this is not the case. The male digs and builds the mound, which is around one metre height and three metres wide. This is a complex and exhausting task. The right amount of compost has to be incorporated at the right depth. The male must wait for enough rain to wet the compost before building the upper layers of the nest. The female lays one large egg each week until she has laid 15-20 eggs. The male opens up the mound to receive each egg, then buries it to the right depth. He then regularly monitors and adjusts the nest temperature. This involves regularly 'testing' the sand at different depths, and scraping sand on and off the mound to keep it at a constant temperature.
The vegetation in the park also provides habitat for the endangered mallee whipbird, and a number of rare orchids. More than forty species of bird call this park home.