Flightless and Landfowl Landbirds

Two galleries in this photo album display flightless lanbirds that belong to Casuariiformes and landfowl from order Galliformes. The flightless and landfowl galleries feature several families, subfamilies, and tribes, see Taxonomy note at the end of this page.

Flightless Landbirds (Portraits and Behaviours)

Flightless Landbird Notes

There are only four species placed in two genera of emus and cassowaries (Casuariidae). Both the emu and cassowary are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’. The first sequence shows a young male Southern Cassowary in the Marrdja swamp at Cape Tribulation in Queensland. I was standing on a footbridge over the swamp looking for subjects to photograph. My wife went ahead to spot wildlife, but she soon returned with the cassowary following close behind. I was somewhat concerned about her safety, especially as it was as taller than here. These birds can be extremely aggressive, so I stopped taking photos ready to defend with my tripod, but luckily when she reached the bridge, it veered off into the swamp to feed on fruits. After a short time, it returned to the forest and hide.

A second sequence displays photos of an endemic Australian Emu. The first image depicts an adult in fresh plumage. It’s difficult to distinguish males from females, except when there are young around as they stay with their father. The last four photos show one the young birds, an adult walking and drinking from rock pools. I assume these were freshwater although they were close to the beach. The final images show dad leading his young to pastures new.


Landfowl Notes

All the species shown in the gallery are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’ except for the Crested Fireback which is ‘Near Threatened’.

The first three photos are Australian Brush-turkey and Orange-footed Scrubfowl placed in Megapodes (Megapodiidae). Megapodes burry their eggs to hatch them, often in mounds. Next is a Helmeted Guineafowl that belongs to the Numididae family. It was in the open near Lake Tinaroo in Queensland. An introduced species to Australia and possibly from a domesticated flock or one of Atherton Tablelands feral populations.

The Crested Fireback and Red Junglefowl belong to the pheasant (Phasianinae) family. The male Crested Fireback is one of the more colourful birds. The Red Junglefowl images show a male, female and chicks that I photographed in Singapore.

A male and female California Quail together with their young feature in the last photo sequence; an introduced species in New Zealand, they belong to Odontophoridae.

Red Junglefowl in Singapore hybridises with domestic chickens. Hybrids have yellowish feet while wild birds that have grey feet.

Flightless and Landfowl Taxonomy

Flightless Birds (Palaeognathae) clade includes species from Emus and Cassowaries (Casuariidae) family placed in (Casuariiformes) order.

Landfowl (Galliformes) order comprises several families; the gallery includes species from the following:
(a) Megapodes (Megapodiidae),
(b) Guineafowl (Numididae),
(c) Pheasants (Phasianidae): (i) Pheasants subfamily (Phasianinae), Tribe Pheasants (Phasianini), and (ii) Peafowl and allies, subfamily (Pavoninae), Tribe Junglefowl (Gallini),
(d) New World Quail (Odontophoridae).