Monday, November 30, 2009


The bush track out to the end of Inskip Point usually has some interesting birds - provided you are quiet and a bit lucky!
I was slowly and quietly following a Peaceful Dove when I went around a corner and saw a small brown bird busily scratching in the leaf litter. At my first glimpse I "hoped" for a Button-quail - but this was just too big. I started taking photos and was able to get quite close. It was not at all shy and as I got closer I realized that it was a very young Brush-turkey. There are lots of Brush-turkeys all through the bush out there and I have several times seen young ones running around like little long-legged chickens but this one was smaller than any I have seen before. My birding book describes the chick as having silky chestnut and brown down.(I posted a photo of an adult Brush-turkey crashing around up in a tree here.)
For the benefit of overseas readers - The male Brush-turkey builds a big mound (often 4 meters in diameter and up to 1 1/2 meters high) out of whatever vegetation is available and this is used as an incubator for the eggs. The female lays eggs in the mound and then walks off and leaves the rest of the job to the male. He watches over the mound and adjusts the temperature of the mound by adding or taking away vegetation from over the eggs. When the chicks hatch they immediately wander off and are independent from then on.
For more photos of birds visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

STOP PRESS: We have just had 16mm of rain! This is more than we have had for nearly 3 months. It's been so dry even some of the trees in my yard were beginning to droop. I hope this is the start of better weather!


  1. That's one cute little chick :D
    Thanks for the Info too!
    Amazing that they build a mound like that :)

  2. That is a very interesting bird story there Mick. The male takes care of the eggs and then when they hatch, the chicks are on there own. Tough life for the little guys I bet.

    Interesting shot of the adult male you linked to also. Thanks for the lesson on these Brush-turkeys.

  3. Thanks for commenting Nicole and Larry. I've seen some old mounds but never while there has been an adult male guarding it. I've read that they re-make and re-use mounds for years.

  4. Hi Mick did you only see the one chick. Thought there might be more than one around.

  5. The paths you walk have such character. It is amazing how some cuddly little chicks grow into suck large brightly coloured birds.
    Fascinating reading about the incubation habit of the Brush-turkey.

    If I had known you were so short of rain I would happily have sent you some of mine ;)

  6. Hi Neil, you're right - there was a second chick further in among the bushes and out of range of good photos.
    Hi John, I've sure been wishing someone would send some rain. We seldom get less than 100mm a month and some months it even goes as high as 300mm or more so you can understand that we feel ourselves pretty hard done by right now.

  7. Nice shots of the little Brush-turkeys.

  8. G'day Mick,
    Cute little thing. Probably young enough not to have learned to be wary of most humans. Nice encounter.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the birds and animals evolved to the stage where they would become tolerant of humans with a camera around their neck? I guess that would take the fun out of chasing them down.

    On the other hand, I recall numerous occasions when the bird stands there looking at me until I raise the camera for a shot.


  9. Thanks Mosura

    Hi Gouldia - I think part of the fun of photographing birds is in the chase! I have plenty of photos of Peaceful Doves but can't resist stalking them down that track to try for the "perfect" shot - which I still haven't got!

  10. aw, that little fluffball is awfully cute! thanks for sharing the photos!

  11. Nice finding and thanks for the interesting info of this bird breeding behavior.

  12. Hi Mick

    What a perfect little "treasure" to find pecking away on the track.
    That's a memory to keep.

  13. Hi Mick. Thanks for the interesting post. I understand Adelaide has also been battered with storms hope you're not going to suffer. FAB.

  14. The chicks are so cute! and interesting that they become self-sufficient so early in their life.

    I'd love to see one of the mounds. I saw a male turkey building one last august, but he was just at the beginning. In addition, he was moving so much and so fast, none of my photos turned out. Drat!

  15. Brush turkey chicks and rain. You're doing well!

    To think those cute little fluffballs turn into such big moochers ...