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Australian Brushturkey - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Alectura lathami)
Photo © by Neil
Port Douglas, Australia, October, 2003
Alectura lathami


Photo © by Hans&Judy Beste
Toowoomba Shire, Queensland, April 2018

60-70 cm (23½-27½ in) (almost as a domestic turkey).

  • Black body
  • Featherless red head
  • Yellow throat wattle (pale blue in northern birds, subspecies purpureicollis).

One strange feature is the tail which is flattened vertically, opposite to most birds.
The males' red heads and yellow wattles become much brighter during the breeding and nesting season.


Australia in the coastal strip from Cape York to the southern parts of New South Wales. Also on Kangaroo Island.



Photo © by Ken Doy
Wellington Point, Queensland, December 2012

There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • A. l. purpureicollis:
  • North-eastern Australia (northern Cape York Peninsula)
  • A. l. lathami:


Tropical rain forests and other woodland areas, including dry scrub. Very common at camp sites and picnic areas.


Photo © by peterpeterpumpkineater
Marcoola, Queensland, Australia

This species does not seem to engage in migration or nomadic behavior.


A large nesting mound is built mostly of leaflitter, at least one meter/three feet tall and 3-5 times wider. Into this are the eggs laid by sometimes several females (she may lay in more than one mound as well). Males control the temperature of the mound by adding or extracting materials, but the eggs are incubated by the heat of composting. Upon hatching, the young dig their own way out of the mound and are left to fend for themselves.


Omnivorous, their diet consists of invertebrates, nuts, seeds, grain, roots and windfall fruits.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Pizzey, G. & Knight, F. 1997. Birds of Australia (Collins Field Guide). HarperCollins Publishers, London. ISBN 0-00-220132-1
  3. BirdForum Member observations
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2016)

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