Australian Brushturkey

Alectura lathami

The Australian Brushturkey or Australian Brush-turkey, , also frequently called the Scrub Turkey or Bush Turkey, is a common, widespread species of mound-building bird from the family Megapodiidae found in eastern Australia from Far North Queensland to Illawarra in New South Wales. The Australian Brushturkey has also been introduced to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is the largest extant representative of the family Megapodiidae and is one of three species to inhabit Australia. Despite its name and their superficial similarities, the bird is not closely related to American turkeys, or to the Australian Bustard, which is also known as the Bush Turkey.
Australian brushturkey - Alectura lathami This brushturkey made use of a board walk in a conservation coastal area. Alectura lathami,Australia,Australian Brushturkey,Geotagged,Spring


Brush turkeys are fairly common nowadays, but in the 1930s it was supposed that the bird was approaching extinction.
Australian Brush Turkey Habitat is tropical temperate rainforests, scrub; sub-inland brigalow.  It's range is coast all the way from  Illawarra region (NSW) all the way to Cape York N Qld.  The turkeys build a nest In a mound (the temp in the mound determines the sex of the offspring)the mound could be 4 metre across and 1-2 metres high, temp inside is kept about 35C.  The female lays about 20+ eggs Alectura lathami,Australian Brushturkey


It is a spectacular large bird with black feathers and a red head. Its total length is about 60–75 cm and a wingspan of about 85 cm . The subspecies ''A. l. purpureicollis'' from the northern Cape York Peninsula is smaller than the more widespread nominate subspecies. It has a prominent, fan-like tail flattened sideways, and its plumage is mainly blackish, but with a bare red head, and a yellow or purple wattle . The male's wattle becomes much larger during breeding season, often swinging from side to side as they run. The males' heads and wattles also become much brighter during the breeding and nesting season. The underside of the body is sprinkled with white feathers, more pronounced in older birds. The Brushturkey is a clumsy flier and cannot fly long distances, only taking to the air when threatened by predators or to roost in trees at night and during the heat of the day.

The species is communal, forming communal nests. A typical group consists of a dominant male, one or more younger males and several females. They build large nests on the ground made of leaves, other combustible material and earth, 1 to 1.5 metres high and up to 4 m across. The eggs are hatched by the heat of the composting mound which is tended only by the males who regulate the temperature by adding or removing material in an effort to maintain the temperature of the mound in the 33–35°C incubation temperature range. The Australian Brushturkey checks the temperature by sticking its beak into the mound. Like some reptiles, incubation temperature affects the sex ratio of chicks, however, the mechanism is different between reptiles and these birds, with reptiles exhibiting Temperature-dependent sex determination , and megapodes exhibiting temperature-dependent embryo mortality. The sex ratio in Brushturkeys is equal at incubation temperatures of 34°C, but results in more males when cooler and more females when warmer . It is unclear whether the parents use this to manipulate the sex of their offspring by, for instance, selecting the nesting site accordingly. Warmer incubation also results in heavier, fitter chicks (p
Australian Brushturkey Australian Brushturkey chick boambee beach north coast new south wales Alectura lathami,Australia,Australian Brush-turkey,Bush-turkey,Geotagged,Scrub Turkey


The Australian Brushturkey inhabits rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, but can also be found in drier scrubs. In the northern part of its range, the Australian Brushturkey is most common at higher altitudes, but individuals move to the lowland areas in winter months. In the south, it is common in both mountain and lowland regions.

Brushturkey colonies are common in the urban environment.
Brush Turkey  Alectura lathami,Australian Brushturkey


Brushturkeys feed upon insects, as well as seeds and fallen fruits, which are exposed by raking the leaf litter or breaking open rotten logs with their large feet. The majority of food is obtained from the ground, with birds occasionally observed feeding on ripening fruits among tree branches.
Australian BrushTurkey  Alectura lathami,Australian Brushturkey


Songs about turkeys include:
⤷ ''Kayvon's Turkey Time'' by Gym Crew from the album ''Sydney - December 2007''
⤷ ''Deb and the Bush Turkey'' by Dick Bryan from the album ''Sydney Bush Bonanza- Uni Tunes 2009''


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SpeciesA. lathami
Photographed in