Maleo standing on tree branch. Source:

Maleo standing on tree branch.

The Maleo (scientific name: Macrocephalon maleo) is endemic to the Indonesian islands, Sulawesi and Buton. The global population of Maleo is estimated at between 4,000-7,000 breeding pairs, though this number is declining rapidly. It is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List and listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Maleo egg in nest. Source:

Maleo egg in nest.

Unsustainable harvesting of its eggs by locals for food and human disturbance of nesting grounds have led to the abandonment of most coastal nesting colonies which has devastating effects on the Maleo’s breeding potential. Moreover, forest destruction and fragmentation due to logging, agriculture, urban and road developments have isolated almost all of the Maleo’s coastal nesting grounds from non-breeding habitats. This therefore reduces the chances of successful breeding and survival of the Maleo.

Since 1972, the Maleo species have been protected under the Indonesian law and over 50% of the nesting grounds occur within the protected areas. Some of the measures undertaken to conserve the Maleo include researching the numbers of breeding birds, the effectiveness of hatcheries and artificial incubation programmes, sustainable egg-collection practices and renewing local community-based protection projects.