What do they look like?
The brush turkey is easily recognised by its:
- deep blue-black plumage
- bright head colours
- broad, flat tail
- general turkey-like appearance.
The bird's wattle (a fleshy lobe hanging down from the base of its neck) varies in colour with its age, gender and location. In the southern parts of its range, the male brush turkey has a bright yellow wattle, while on Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland its wattle is light blue. Females and younger birds have dull yellow wattles.
Brush turkey chicks look much like quails, with plain rich brown feathers over their entire bodies. As they mature they lose the feathers on their heads and necks, where the bare skin turns a deep pink colour.
What do they sound like?
The Australian brush turkey, while generally a quiet bird, will sometimes be heard making soft grunts. Males have a deep three-noted booming call.
Where do they live?
The Australian brush turkey can be found in NSW and Queensland. It lives in humid forests along the eastern seaboard and inland to the wetter ranges, though it is most often seen in rainforest and neighbouring eucalypt forest areas. It remains in a particular locality throughout the year, where it breeds and forages in the forest leaf litter for fruits, seeds and small animals.
This fascinating bird is abundant in favourable habitats. However, since European colonisation its numbers have declined, particularly near cities. In places where it shares its breeding and foraging grounds with humans, the survival of the species depends largely on the goodwill of householders.