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Australian brush-turkey

Alectura lathami

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Australian brush-turkey (en); perú-do-mato-australiano (pt); talégalle de Latham (fr); talégalo cabecirrojo (es); buschhuhn (de)

Order Galliformes
Family Megapodiidae

This species is endemic to eastern Australia, being found from Cape York Peninsula to eastern New South Wales.

These birds are 60-75 cm long and have a wingspan of 85 cm. They weigh 2-2,5 kg.

They are mostly found in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, but also use dry savannas and scrublands, and occasionally even rural and urban areas.

They forge mainly on the ground, taking insects, seeds and fallen fruits, but can also take ripe fruits from tree branches.

Australian brush-turkeys are polygynous. Each male builds a large mound of organic matter up to 4 m in diameter and 1 m high, where several females will lay up to 50 eggs. The eggs are incubated by the heat given off by the rotting vegetation of the mound, while the male maintains a constant temperature of 33-38°C by digging holes in the mound and inserting his bill to check the heat, then adding and removing vegetable matter as required. The chicks hatch after about 50 days and are immediately independent, remarkably being able to fly within hours of hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common and widespread. The population is declining owing to habitat destruction and fragmentation, but the Australian brush-turkey is not considered threatened.

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