Australian Brush Turkey

The Australian Brush Turkey (Alectura lathami) seen all over the place here in Byron Bay. They come up to the house and they were spotted in our garden a couple of days ago. We took the kids for a hike yesterday and photographed this one on the side of the road. I have probably seen about 20-25 birds, male (yellow wattle), female, and juveniles. They are not very afraid of humans.

I don’t find it surprising that the early settlers of Australia almost hunted them out of existence. They would be easy to shoot or snare. They are back from the brink of extinction in the 1930s to today being quite widespread down the east coast of Australia from Cape York to northern New South Wales. They are protected by law but in Brisbane and other places they are becoming a nuisance as in this report.

They are not related to turkeys at all. They are a group of mound-building birds only found in the Australian / South Pacific region. The mounds consist of a base of compost below the eggs and covered by sand. The heat from the compost and insulation of the sand keeps the eggs at a constant temperature.

I will go out the next couple days to see if I can find a mound and get a photo of the juveniles for this post.

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