5 Interesting Facts About Australian Brushturkeys

This is an Australian brushturkey scratching around for food

This is an Australian brushturkey scratching around for food

With their black feathers, red head and bright yellow throat, one of the most unique birds in the Australian bush is the Australian brushturkey.

Here are five interesting facts about them:

  1. These large birds grow to about 70 cm long.  They can fly, but not very well, only using their wings to escape from predators or roost on low branches at night.
  2. Australian brushturkeys are members of a family of birds called megapodes, which are named after their very big feet that they use for scratching around in the dirt.  They are not related to the turkeys that live in America.
  3. They eat insects, seeds and fruit that has fallen to the ground.
  4. Australian brushturkeys are best known for the massive nests that the males build on the ground.  They scrape leaves and dirt into a big pile 4 metres across and 1 metre high and the females lay up to 24 eggs in them, with a few females sometimes using the same nest.  The rotting leaves provide the heat that the eggs need to incubate.  The adults are able to check the temperature with their beaks and scrape off or add leaves to keep the nest at between 33-35 degrees Celsius.  The chicks have to dig themselves out and look after themselves from the moment they hatch.  They are born with all of their feathers and can fly after just a few hours.
  5. These guys are very common and live in forests and scrubland throughout eastern Australia from far north Queensland down to the northern suburbs of Sydney and their range is extending further south.  They are also often found in people’s gardens which would be cool.

I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.

Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about Australian brushturkeys?

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