Alectura lathami (MEGAPODIIDAE) Roosting Brush-turkey


A large bird in rainforests and scrubland from Cape York to central coast of New South Wales. They feed on the ground and roost in trees. Wingspan up to 85cm. Fan like tail, powerful legs with sharp claws for digging. Dark feathers on back, neck, tail and wings. Underbelly dusty grey. Males and females are similar in size. Male’s head is bright red with a large, bright yellow neck wattle (female’s wattle is smaller and paler). Diet consists of insects, native fruits and seeds. Helps the propagation of Richmond Birdwing Vine by cultivation.

Female. Photo: Derek Boddington

Close-up of Male

Males build very large mounds. No parental care is provided to the young who dig themselves from the mound and can fly within an hour of hatching. Large goannas and feral pigs raid the mounds stealing the eggs and disrupting the incubation. Megapodiidae means big-footed.

Photo: Diana Ekeroth