Sunday, June 15, 2014

Meeting With Maleo - an endangered bird

After 4 years of waiting, I finally get to see the wild Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo) the chicken like bird that don't incubate their egg or feed their youngs. I didn't get the chance to see Maleo when I first visited Tangkoko National Park 4 yours ago. I was told that Maleo have been locally extinct in Tangkoko & another place to see Maleo is at Tambun in Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park. Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range, high chick mortality rates and overhunting, the Maleo is evaluated as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Endemic to Sulawesi, the only area to meet Maleo is here and no where else.
North Sulawesi
After arrive at Manado Airport and meet up with our local guide, we start our long drive to Tambun. We took almost 8 hours to reach the nearby home stay which is another 45 minutes away from the Maleo nesting site.
Maleo Conservatrion
 We wake up at 4 am and start our journey to look for Maleo.
Maleo Conservatrion
Our target is to watch a wild Maleo in their natural habitat and look at how and where they lay their eggs. Maleo lay their eggs in the hole they dug and cover their eggs with sand and soil. The Maleo don't incubate their eggs & they rely on solar and/or geothermal radiation to incubate their eggs. The incubation took 2 to 3 months and the chick may took up to 2 days to dig their way up to the surface.Once on the surface, they are totally independent and ready to fly.
Hot spring
 These area are covered with hot spring and make it a perfect nesting site for Maleo.
The maleo (Macrocephalon maleo)
 After searching for about an hour, we get to see Maleo!
The maleo nest
 This could be a new nest looking at the newly covered soil.
The maleo nest
The staff from the Conservation Center show us how they retrieve the eggs from the nest and transfer to protected site for incubation. If let unprotected, the eggs and the newly hatched chicks are at high risks of predated by monitor lizard & wild pig.
The maleo egg
 The Maleo egg is about 5 times bigger than chicken eggs.
The maleo (Macrocephalon maleo)
We are so lucky that there are 2 newly hatched chicks in the center and ready to be released to the wild. I was given the honor to release one of the chick to the wild! The young Maleo is now on his own to defend himself from the predators hopefully he will come back to the nesting site & produce more young Maleo.
The maleo (Macrocephalon maleo)
I name this young bird Mini-Samson before letting it fly to the forest. Hope to see you again some day!

This trip was made possible with the logistics support from Manado Safari Tours - Thank you for the great service!


  1. Samson, Great shots and thanks for your trust in Safari to bring you to the Maleos. Jeremy & Ninny Barnes

  2. Hi Samson, I am a researcher for a small natural history TV company. I would love to get in contact and ask a few questions about your trip as we also want to visit the area. If you could contact me - I would be very grateful!

    Kind regards,