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A strange, rare, and retiring mythological beast which apparently is only seen in Unseen University once every hundred years. It is apparently a man-high flightless bird and coloured scarlet and yellow. It is not, in the opinion of Smeems the Candle Knave, the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography in a silly costume.

Once seen, it must be hunted, with cries of "Ho, the Megapode!"

According to the Book of Traditions, the original Megapode was found in the under-butler's pantry eleven hundred years ago, escaped, and caused a veritable heyhoe-rumbelow as all the fellows pursued it through the college buildings with much mirth and good spirits.

The new Master of the Traditions chose the wearer of the official Megapode costume because he wanted a creature skilled at running away who would give the Faculty a suitably long chase.


Roundworld reference: Megapodes, also known as "incubator birds", are medium to large sized birds that do not incubate eggs with their body heat, but bury them in the ground, often building massive nests for that purpose - pantries of kitchen personell would be a feasible alternative if no other opportunity presents itself. They have typically large feet and strong legs (hence the name), making good use of them when running away from danger. They are mainly found in the roundworld counterpart to XXXX and surrounding areas, so their appearance at Unseen University might be the result of the spatial nexus in the room of the Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography. An example of a scarlet and yellow coloured species is the Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami), seen in this video running away from something. Megapodes are "superprecocial" - they hatch from their eggs in very mature condition and are able to run and in some species even fly on the same day they hatch. They share this trait with the discworld Phoenix, who also does not use body heat for incubation, indicating a possible relation between the families.

The University's Megapode Hunt bears some resemblence to the Mallard Hunt that takes place at All Souls College, Oxford once a century. This is in commemoration of a bird that flew out of the foundations when the College was being built, and involves a song with the chorus "Ho, by the blood of King Edward/It was a swapping, swapping mallard!" The ceremony last took place in 2001.