Definition of megapode in US English:



  • A large ground-dwelling Australasian and Southeast Asian bird that builds a large mound of debris to incubate its eggs by the heat of decomposition.

    Family Megapodiidae (the megapode family), which includes the brush turkeys and mallee fowl

    Also called mound builder
    • ‘All megapode species, except the Malleefowl, live in tropical humid broadleaf forests.’
    • ‘Instead of using body heat to directly incubate eggs, megapodes passively incubate eggs.’
    • ‘What sets megapodes apart from these game birds is their extraordinary breeding behavior.’
    • ‘Then there's the curious megapode, a big-footed bird that is built like a chicken and emits a cry they say sounds just like a cat's.’
    • ‘The megapodes bury their eggs in relatively isolated pockets, where the conditions are right for incubation, making them susceptible to humans and other predators.’


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Megapodius (genus name), from mega- ‘large’ + Greek pous, pod- ‘foot’.