Malleefowl – Parenting

Malleefowl illustrated by Ravenari


Parenting. Going to great lengths for your children / projects. Incubation. Going within. Patience. Caring for what you create. Nesting. Giving Your Creations Freedom. Knowing the inner earth. Trusting your instincts and intuition.

General Description:

The malleefowl is a stock, ground-dwelling Australian bird closely related to other scrub and bush-turkeys. It is known for the large incubation mounds that it builds, these can be 4 metres in diameter and one metre high. Malleefowls pair up and scrape vegetation, soil and sand into a mound, lay their eggs and then scrape more upon the eggs to keep them warm. Malleefowl (usually the male) will commonly check the temperature of this mound and can completely and consistently maintain control of this temperature. Malleefowl abandon the eggs and the mound towards the end of incubation, and the offspring must dig their way out of the mound. They can fly within a few hours of ‘birth’, many will die from predation and starvation (less than 2% of chicks are thought to survive).

Malleefowl have plumage that camouflages easily, and if disturbed they often sneak away, relying on their plumage to disguise them. Malleefowl eat insects, flowers, herbs and seeds. The malleefowl leads a solitary and independent existence.

Lessons and Challenges:

The malleefowl has evolved to almost extreme lengths in order to make sure that it can both live its life, while making sure that its young are incubated, protected and safe. The malleefowl represents going to great lengths for your children. If you don’t have, or aren’t planning on having children, malleefowl also represents going to great lengths for those projects which are especially important to you.

It may be that you are being asked to go to extremes in order to support what’s important to you, or malleefowl may have come into your life to acknowledge the extremes you have already gone to.

Malleefowl teaches us about parenting. It is a paradoxical teacher, because malleefowl parents never witness or actually ‘raise’ their offspring, all the care and effort they give is in the weeks and months and generations of evolution they spend maintaining the incubatory mounds that provide an extremely safe and protected home for their offspring. All this time and devotion means that their offspring are born super-precocial, able to fly, feed and look after themselves within a very short time from emerging from the mound.

Malleefowl teaches us that parenting isn’t about caring for a project or child once it’s up and running, but teaches us the valuable ‘parenting’ of a project or child before it’s even born, before it has even become more than a visualisation or concept in our minds. That sort of parenting involves going within ourselves to nurture an idea with time, conscious thought, and conscious commitment to the potential of its birth.

At this time, it is important to care for what you create, and what you have created. Invest some time into maintaining past projects, or make sure that you are as devoted to your child or children today as you were when they were first born. Also invest time into looking after those projects that have not been born yet.

The concept of nesting is important. Nesting for us, often involves taking time and patience and devoting it to preparing ourselves for the birth of a child, the acquisition of a pet, or the creation of a project. It also involves slowing down and looking at how selfless you are required to be, and whether you are able to divorce your own personal wants from what you want to create so that you can do a project justice, or give a child a very positive upbringing.

Malleefowl represents the idea of giving your creations freedom. Malleefowl parents sacrifice a lot to care for their offspring. But the one thing they don’t do, is berate their offspring, follow them around, or try and change their course of their lives while they grow. In fact they give them complete freedom to find their own territories and ways of life through their absence.

If you have children, or plan on having children, how much freedom will you give your child? Will you judge your child for their sexuality, their lifestyle choices, or the way they want to live their lives? Do you do this already? Likewise, with your projects, do you judge them for how they evolve, and do you seek to stifle them instead of letting them grow freely? Malleefowl asks you to pull your head in, and cultivate some selflessness and sacrifice for the sake of those things you care about, it is the only way something can evolve the way it is supposed to.

Malleefowl advises you to learn the inner workings of any situation, and to trust your instincts. Malleefowl must trust in its knowledge of the earth, temperatures and composting materials to ‘check’ on its eggs, as it’s unviable to constantly dig up its mound in order to do this. It must use its beak and its instincts in order to make very important decisions that it cannot make through actually directly verifying the health of its eggs. Likewise, sometimes we cannot actually check directly on something before making an important decision about something. We may not be able to know the full story on many instances before a decision needs to be made. We won’t know the outcome of many of our projects, or the consequences of our actions. Malleefowl teaches us to rely on our instincts and our inner selves in order to better make these sorts of decisions.

The Shadow Aspects:

If malleefowl’s shadow energy has presented in your life, it’s time to really take the time and effort to see your projects and your creations through. Malleefowl challenges you to finish something you started, because you owe it to yourself, and because the sense of closure may provide exactly the sort of inspiration you need to start a new project. It will also teach you the value of commitment and patience.

Malleefowl is a stern shadow energy that implies that you have not gone to great enough lengths for your children (human or animal) or your projects. You have not committed enough available energy, passion or love to the things and people you care for and this in turn will harm yourself and others. Malleefowl asks you to give more – because whether you believe it or not – you have more to give to others and projects.


Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Malleefowl is a subtle and lesser known animal guide, but that does not mean its lessons are less significant in any way. Its advice when it comes to parenting, life, devotion and sacrifice are meaningful and relevant. Malleefowl has a quirky personality, and will actually ‘talk’ to people (or at least those I’ve talked to) in visualisation and journeying.

Malleefowl responds well to a diverse array of offerings, and I personally leave small mounds of compostable materials (like leaves, twigs etc.) before inviting malleefowl into my life. I find malleefowl to be relatively polite, but not afraid to make a firm point in any way it needs to. It can be a stern teacher and guide, and quite transient. It may not show up every time you want its guidance.