Brush Turkey

a.k.a. Gweela, Scrub Turkey

Alectura lathami

A male Brush Turkey

Brush-turkeys are found from the very north of Queensland south to the vicinty of Sydney, in Victoria, Australia.

Gweela are noticeably larger than chickens. They are the largest of the 3 megapode species in Australia.

A mound of organic litter is constructed by the dominant male. The mound may be 4m in diameter and 1m in height. Several females will lay their eggs in a single mound. The male keeps a check on temperatures in the mound by poking his bill into the mound. He will add and remove rotting vegetation to promote the correct temperature for incubation.

When the chicks hatch they have to burrow out of the mound, after which they are on their own, with no parental care. They hatch fully feathered and can fly within hours.

Brush-turkeys sometimes are a problem as they may dig up gardens while searching for food. They will also raid trash bins.

Ed. note: These birds are not shy and will come close to people -- I was quite taken with them while I was in Australia.

Brush Turkey Links:


Brush Turkeys by the San Diego Zoo

Five Reasons to Love Brush Turkeys

Distribution map

Birds in Backyards

Brush Turkey hens

Courting: A male chases a hen across the rooftops

A roosting Gweela hen

This one is just being chased off after raiding a picnic basket!

More males





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