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20061212Db_EL_002=_MG_1067_Australian_Brush-turkey-dead_chick_Brisbane_Australia_EL+PS.jpg
Australian Brush-turkey dead downy chick, Brisbane Australia.   //   Australian Brush-turkey - Megapodiidae: Alectura lathami. Also known as Bush Turkey, Scrub Turkey, Length to 75cm, wingspan to 85cm, weight to 2.25Kg. Endemic to Australia from Cape York down the eastern coast to central New South Wales. Habitat: wetter woodland, suburban, urban areas. Male with a bright naked red head and neck, and a sunflower-yellow wattle (lilac in Cape York birds) at the junction with the body feathers. Female duller, wattle hardly developed, juvenile similar. Male builds a large mound (height 1.5m, diameter 4m) of leaves and litter scratched from surrounding area, often moving material a considerable distance - in urban situations may rake all the mulch and surface plants from the garden to the nest to the annoyance of gardeners.  Eggs are laid in holes dug into the decomposing vegetation at a depth of ~34 degrees C - male detects temperature with his beak. A constant temperature is maintained by adding or removing vegetation from the surface of the mound. Polygamous - eggs are laid by a number of females, and the season lasts through the summer months, Sep-Mar. Head and wattle become paler out of breeding season.  Chicks are precocious, able to fend for themselves as soon as they have dried out after digging their way from the hatching site - from the distance they look like a quail. This chick was found dead on a street verge - desiccated head and bill, and white inside the eye, indicate it had been dead for some time. IUCN Status: Least Concern.  - Eric Lindgren.