Alectura lathami


Australian Brush Turkey


This mainly black large bird to 65 cm long is often found associated with the creek. Both sexes have a red head devoid of feathers but the male has a large yellow wattle. They are readily distinguished by the vertical fan-shaped tail and use it as a signalling device to other birds and animals.  Legs and feet brown, eyes yellow, bill black.


Brush-turkeys eat various foods that they find in the leaf litter, including fallen fruits. They may become abundant and quite unwary where humans provide easy pickings.


Breeding season is typically May-February. It seems that females choose their mates according to how well they build and look after their mounds, inspecting all males in the area and observing their behaviour before making their choice.  They also probe the mound to test its temperature and other properties.  The owner of a good mound may find females queuing up to lay their eggs in his care.  A female will usually remain with her chosen partner for 3-6 weeks, laying eggs in his mound before moving on to another male, with a fresher mound, to start again.  The mound temperature is about 33 degrees, held constant by changes to its structure, such as opening or raking it to release excess heat.  More than one female may lay in the male’s mound so it normally produces a large number of young each season.  Mating is entirely promiscuous, so each female also lays in more than one mound.  The nest is a large incubator mound that generates heat through the decay of moist organic material.  A typical mound is a metre tall and 4-5 metres diameter and is maintained for up to nine months by the male each nesting season. 


Click here to hear the brush turkey bird call


More information can be found on Wikipedia


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