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20120924Da_EL_055=_MG_700636_Australian_Brush-turkey_nesting_behaviour_Brisbane_Australia+Embedded_RAW_File Original-2_EL.TIF
Australian Brush nesting behaviour - female lays egg watched by nest owner-male, Brisbane, Queensland,  Australia.  //   Australian Brush-turkey - Megapodiidae: Alectura lathami. Length to 75cm, wingspan to 85cm, weight to 2kg. 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 super-precocious, able to fly and 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. In this photo: The owner of the nest, the male is behind the female checking as she lays an egg in a mound in a suburban back-yard. IUCN Status: Least Concern.  //    Eric Lindgren.   //   EL  //  PS  //