Rainforest wildlife tour Port Douglas Daintree Australia.

Australian Brush Turkey
Alectua lathami

The Brush Turkey (Alectura lathami) is also a mound builder

The Brush Turkey is one of Australia's three "mound builders". The others being, the locally found Orange-footed Scrubfowl and the Mallee Fowl in the southern part of the continent.

They are solitary in nature and aggressive to each other and to other lesser species. They are bullies!!

Unlike the Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Brush Turkeys do not form permanent pair bonds. A successful male, with a good nest location, mates with many different females during the breeding season.

By scratching up earth and decaying leaf matter with their powerful legs the male Brush Turkey builds huge incubation mounds which can be four metres in diameter and well over one metre high. They are re-used every year with the dominant bird maintaining the best locality. After copulating with the female he allows her to deposit her eggs in the clutch that he exposes. He then aggressively drives her away and very carefully recovers the eggs with humus. Quite often the eggs that he tends in his mound have been fertilised by another male. He can only hope I guess that some other male is reciprocating with his eggs. Incubation temperature is about 33 degrees Celsius.

No parental care is provided to the young who dig themselves from the mound and can fly within the hour of hatching.

Large goannas and feral pigs often raid the mounds stealing the eggs and disrupting the incubation temperature.

Brush Turkeys usually make themselves unpopular with most people because of their destructive scratching and aggressive behaviour towards each other and anything else they come into contact with.

70 Centimetres.

Replay call

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Photographed and call recorded at Thylogale
by David & Diane Armbrust


Copyright 1998 David & Diane Armbrust
Thylogale Nature Refuge
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