More facts about the Brushturkey

  • The Brushturkeys we see belong to the race lathami.
  • The scientific name for the Brushturkey is Alectura lathami.
  • Scientific names are written with a capital for the first word and a lower-case letter starting the second word. Both are printed in itallics.
  • The Brushturkey’s scientific name honours the man who first described them, Dr John Latham.
  • Latham saw the Brushturkey has a bare-head and called it a vulture.

  • Brushturkeys are mainly ground living birds but can fly.
  • Brushturkeys often roost (spend the night) high in trees.
  • Brushturkeys are mostly solitary birds.
  • Brushturkeys prefer to live in forest places including rain forest.
  • Because so much forest has disappeared they now often live in the suburbs particularly bushy suburbs.

  • A female Brushturkey has a small yellow collar.
  • Female Brushturkeys are smaller than males.
  • Juvenile (young) Brushturkeys don't have a collar.
  • Brushturkey chicks are all brown with yellow legs and about the size of a pigeon.

  • Some people know Brushturkeys as Scrub Turkeys or Bush Turkeys. Brush is the word used by early British settlers in Australia instead of Bush.
  • A Brushturkey is usually about 60 to 70 cm long. This measurement is taken from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail when it is lying stretched out on a flat surface.
  • A male Brushturkey has a yellow "wattle" at the base of its neck. This wattle is bare skin that can stretch.
  • A sub-species of Brushturkey lives on Cape York. It's wattle is purplish.

  • Brushturkeys belong to a family of birds known as Megapodes.
  • The word Megapode means big foot or feet (mega – big; pode – foot)
  • Megapodes are found in other places including New Guinea and some Pacific islands.
  • Brushturkeys are found in eastern Australia from Cape York to about Sydney.
  • Other Australian megapodes are the Orange-footed Scrubfowl and the Malleefowl.

  • Brushturkey eggs are laid in huge mounds of decaying vegetation collected by the male bird.
  • The heat created by the decaying vegetation incubates the eggs.
  • When the chick hatches and gets to the surface of the mound, it must fend for itself without any help from adult birds.
  • The chick has feathers and can fly within a few hours of leaving the nest mound.

Return to the Brushturkey survey project page

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