Megapodius amissus Worthy, 2000:342

Lost megapode, Viti Levu scrubfowl, Fijian megapode



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: Late Quaternary


A terrestrial bird known to Viti Levu islanders as the "sasa" (Bahr, 1912; Wood & Wetmore, 1926) may have constituted surviving individuals of [i]Megapodius amissus[/i] (Tyrberg, 2009), which is at present only known from subfossil remains (Worthy, 2000). These may be the same records from the nineteenth century mentioned by (Watling, 1982).


A record of a possible megapode on Kadavu island from 10 September 1970 (Blackburn, 1971) may refer to this taxon.



Viti Levu (& Kadavu?), Fiji


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: NMNZ S37468 ("right tarsometatarsus"*)

Type locality: "Udit Cave, Wainibuku, Viti Levu, Fiji; [precise co-ordinates given]"



For a detailed list of paratypic material see (Worthy, 2000:344,346).


Referred material:

Only a few bones were referred to Megapodius amissus as compared with the several dozen made paratypes. See (Worthy, 2000:346) for the particulars.


* Acession lot MNZ S37468 contains several bones, but only the right tarsometatarsus has been designated as the holotype. The rest of the material was designated as paratypic.






Original scientific description:

Worthy, Trevor H. (2000). The fossil megapodes (Aves: Megapodiidae) of Fiji with descriptions of a new genus and two new species. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 30(4): 337-364. [pp. 337-354?]


Other references:

Bahr, P. H. (1912). On a Journey to the Fiji Islands, with Notes on the present Status of their Avifauna, made during a Year's Stay in the Group, 1910-1911. The Ibis 9(6): 282-313.

Blackburn, A. (1971). Some notes on Fijian birds. Notornis 18(3): 147-174.

Hume, Julian Pender and Walters, Michael. (2012). Extinct Birds. London: T & AD Poyser. 544 pp.

Sayol, Ferran, Steinbauer, Manuel J., Blackburn, Tim M., Antonelli, Alexandre and Faurby, Søren. (2020). Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds. Science Advances 6(49): eabb6095. [Supplementary Material (Data File S1)]

Tennyson, Alan J. D. and Bartle, J. A. (2008). Catalogue of type specimens of birds in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Tuhinga 19: 185-207.

Tyrberg, Tommy. (2009). Holocene avian extinctions, pp. 63-106. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Watling, D. (1982). Birds of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. Wellington, New Zealand: Millwood Press.

Wood, C. A. and Wetmore, Alexander. (1926). A collection of birds from the Fiji Islands. Part III. Field observations. Ibis 56: 91-136.

Worthy, Trevor H. (2004). The fossil rails (Aves: Rallidae) of Fiji with descriptions of a new genus and species. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 34(3): 295-314.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Anderson, Atholl. (2009). Results of palaeofaunal research, pp. 41-62. In: Clark, Geoffrey Richard and Anderson, Atoll (eds.). The Early Prehistory of Fiji. Terra Australis 31. Canberra: ANU E Press. 437 pp.


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