The Australian Bush Turkey (Alectura Lathami) is found throughout the east coast of Australia all the way from northern Queensland to the New South Whales/Victoria boarder. They are a larger bird averaging a length of 70cm with an average wingspan of 85cm. Their natural environment is within the dense bush where they can forrage through elaf litter for food, mainly insects and fallen fruit.
If you are an Australian living on the east coast you would surely have came across one of these birds be it in a natural park or even in your local park. They are incredibly common, however did you know that during the great depression when food was scarce they were heavily hunted and their eggs were used for omelettes!
Speaking of their eggs, Australian bush turkeys still use one of the most primitive methods of forming a nest which was passed down from there dinosaur relatives. Instead of selecting twigs to form a tidy nest to lay their eggs in, they simply pile up huge mounds of leaf litter instead. These giant compost heaps can be as large as 4 metres in diameter and a meter high. This keeps the eggs warm as opposed to the birds having to sit on them. Many females in the area will approach the dominant male who has constructed a suitable next heap and share it, all laying their eggs within the one nest.
I managed to take these photos of a bush turkey that was just off the walking track in a national park. I was within an arms length of him with my 28mm lens. I like how his red head and yellow wattle (saggy neck skin) complement the earthy green and muted colours of the forest background. This would be a young males based on his size and colouration.
There is always something interesting and unique to see whilst walking in the Australian bush!
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