Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 06 - Australian Brush-Turkey

I thought I'd go with a rather more conventional looking bird this week.

This is an Australian Brush-Turkey (Alectura lathami).  It can be found on the east coast of Australia basically from southern NewSouth Wales north.   This bird seemed rather stressed at the time I saw it - it was early July and it was clear that some of the other people watching the bird were American, and they may have been thinking about traditional feasts.

They make a strange set of grunting noises as calls - I could hear them behind our accommodation and for  a while I had not idea what was making the noise.

Possibly the most remarkable thing about this bird is the way that it incubates its eggs.  Instead of building a nest and sitting on the eggs this bird (and a few other in Australia) builds a huge mound of leaves, twigs and forest floor litter and lays the eggs in that.  As the plant material rots away, heat is released and the whole heap warms up.  (Think about how warm your compost heap gets if you have one).   The bird adds or removes dirt from the mound to regulate the temperature.  All in all this is a bit of a performance!  Some of the mounds are huge and seemed to be used over generations of birds.

What is also remarakable is that the chicks hatch from the eggs while buried in the mound and had to dig their way out unaided.  Then they have to survive with no help from the parents - I can only assume the Brush-Turkey chicks are tough little individuals!

Now its your turn to join in with WBW!  Please remember to create a link back to WBW so that others can join in the community.  You can use this badge if you wish.


PS: Replies and visits may be a bit thin on the ground this week - we have migrants from the Northern Hemisphere visiting!

26 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i kept looking at those photos thinking that was a decoy! what an odd looking bird! looks plastic!

i like its idea of nesting, however. pretty smart. :)

i stora drag said...

Nice photos of this beautiful bird! We don't eat turkey so very often.
Interesting about its nest!
Greetings Pia

Island Rambles Blog said...

that is such a strange way to build a nest and then the young have to dig out! Birds are very aware of temperature at the nest...Robins will build their nest accordingly to the temperature at hand. I find nest building a fascinating and complex study.

Fjällripan said...

Such cool looking birds! and yes the chicks must really be though. Interesting post /Susanne

Debbie said...

cool nesting story!!

nice pictures!!

mick said...

Great photos of the Brush Turkeys. They can be a real menace if they decided to build mounds in your garden!

Gary said...

Great shots Stewart. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

bailey-road.com said...

Great captures! This bird has such interesting and unusual nesting behavior.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

These turkey photos look so 'unreal'....like a salt shaker set for Thanksgiving or something.

Love their colors!!!!

Connie Smiley said...

Those turkey's nesting behavior seems about as unusual as their funny faces, but it makes a lot of sense. Cool photos and writing.

eileeninmd said...

Great shots of the Turkey, Stewart. Have a great time with your guests. Thanks for hosting and have a great week!

Mama Zen said...

What an interesting way to nest!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I enlarged the photos to get a better look and was amazed at how perfect he is. Like T, I thought it was a decoy or yard ornament. This looks like something a Cajun person living out in the sticks would put on their lawn. Very cool shots, Stewart!

Kusum said...

Nice photos of a land bird. Looks like a replica!

Becky said...

As I read about your turkey, I am reminded of the way alligators lay their eggs in a mound too, and they hatch on their own. An interesting bird..

Brian King said...

That's a beautiful bird! Much different from our turkeys. In fact, it almost doesn't look real.

FOREST SNAPPER said...

I hope your migrants have some sun,at the time of posting ,its pouring down again. Thanks for doing W.B.W.


Peter

Roan said...

Very clever bird! I've never seen anything quite like it. Interesting post!
Rubbish by Roan

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Very Cool! Brush Turkeys, I had never seen, or heard about them before. Wow, what a start they make in life. Yes, very tough little ones~

Larry said...

What an incredible way to hatch eggs! Ingenious! Most game birds are born precocial and ready to forage but it is amazing that these youngsters don't get ANY help from their parents!

Pat Tillett said...

Very odd looking! Love that bright red head. Very interesting about the little guys having to fend for themselves...

Marlo Perdicas said...

conventional? Not where I am from. That bird looks fake! It's lovely.

Gillian Olson said...

Neat looking birds, and that is interesting nesting behavior too, thanks for sharing and for hosting.

Carole M. said...

those brush turkeys are innovative with their nesting principles. You'd sure think it quite a struggle for the young-ones. Probably leaves that indelible inprint that they continue the sequence when it's their turn to populate.

missmeggy said...

The turkey is so different from the turkeys we have in our farm. great shots you have there! :)

einfachtilda said...

Sehr schöne Vögel und ich zeige meine dann am Mittwoch und verlinke zu dieser Seite.

LG Mathilda ♥