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Bird Australian Brush Turkey (Alectura lathami)

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Common Name: Australian Brush Turkey

Scientific Name: Alectura lathami

Family: Megapodiidae

Order: Galliformes

Other Names: Scrub Turkey or Bush Turkey.

Distribution: Eastern Australia from Far North Queensland to Illawarra in New South Wales. It has also been introduced to Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Habitat: Bushlands.

Field Notes: large bird with black feathers and a red head. Its total length is about 60–75 cm and a wingspan of about 85 cm. It has a prominent, fan-like tail flattened sideways, and its plumage is mainly blackish, but with a bare red head, and a yellow (in the nominate subspecies) or purple wattle.
Brush turkeys are communal birds, and have 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 metres across.

Photo by Auscraft 2011, Gympie, QLD.


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Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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These nests can be vast, 10 meters or more in diameter. The nests are used by successive generations of birds over many years, so they grow and grow.

The male builds the nest, which is functionally a vast compost heap. As the material decomposes, it generates heat, which is used to incubate the eggs.
I believe that the male (?) tends the nest once the eggs are layed. The eggs are layed into a hole and are covered over to retain the compost's heat.

The male constantly tests the temperature with his beak and will cover or uncover the eggs to maintain the correct temperature.

Once the eggs hatch, the male abandons the chicks to fend for themselves.
 

Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
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An inuse nest Bunya Mts Sept 2012.
DSCF3679640x449_zps0b93976b.jpg
 

Quinkan

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Not that it's something on my menu for tomorrow but the lower layers of disused mounds often host a truck load of juicy grubs, crickets and in the soil, worms. If you're ever starving or need bait, it's a reasonable source of food for very little effort.
 
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