Australian Brush-turkey (male)

roger smith

Hawthorn, Australia

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Artist's Description

Alectura lathami … As with other megapodes, the Australian Brush-turkey incubates its eggs in a large mound. The male usually builds a single large mound of organic matter, approximately 4 m in diameter and 1 m high. Eggs are laid by several females in a single mound. The eggs are incubated by the heat given off by the rotting vegetation. The male maintains a constant temperature of 33 – 38°C by digging holes in the mound and inserting his bill to check the heat, then adding and removing vegetable matter as required. Before the eggs hatch, many fall prey to burrowing predators such as goannas. After hatching, the chicks burrow out of the mound, at which point they are left to fend for themselves. These hatchlings are fully feathered and are able to walk and fend for themselves immediately. Remarkably, they are able to fly just a few hours after hatching.
… photographed at Taronga Zoological Park, Sydney, Australia

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