Tongan Scrubfowl, Polynesian Scrubfowl, Niaufoou Scrubfowl, Tongan Megapode, Nevafou Megapode
Megapodius pritchardii by Pat Latas(8 in. x 8 in. | mixed:graphite, ink, digital | ID#3946)
Family: MEGAPODIIDAE | Conservation Status: Endangered | Population Trend: decreasing
Ah, the megapodes! What a wonderful and intensely interesting group of birds! What a terrible shame that nearly all the species are in danger of extirpation. Sadly, the biogeographically important species, on far-flung Pacific islands are at greatest risk, or ALREADY extinct. We must do everything we can to prevent further loss. The only species of scrubfowl I have personally seen is the Orange-footed in Australia. The existence of such birds on Tonga is a miracle, and the loss of this species is an extinguishment of a biological miracle. In selecting species to illustrate for the Silent Skies Mural, I chose birds who I have actually seen in the wild or at least their very near relatives. In my other life, I am a wildlife and avian veterinarian, interested in conservation, and serve various organizations in that professional capacity. The opportunity to bring some of the lesser-known and less-spectacular species to light is a real privilege, and reflects the mission of Artists for Conservation. These birds demand and deserve our attention and their extinction would be a tragic loss to the biodiversity and beauty and brilliance of our precious planet.
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