Family Megapodes (Megapodiidae)

Least Concern

Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami)


French: Talégalle de Latham German: Australbuschhuhn Spanish: Talégalo cabecirrojo
Other common names: Brush Turkey

Alectura Lathami

J. E. Gray

, 1831,

near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


May be most closely related to Aepypodius, as suggested by some similarities in behaviour at mound, extensive brightly coloured bare skin with adornments on neck, round nostrils and white eggshell. Form purpureicollis distinctive (purplish-pink and seemingly smoother-skinned breast-pouch, shorter tail), and possibly a separate species; ambiguous evidence concerning sympatry or parapatry with nominate#R#R requires further evaluation. Dubious race robinsoni#R (C Queensland), based only on intermediate size, included within nominate#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. purpureicollis#R (Le Souef, 1898) – Purple-pouched Brush-turkey – N Queensland.
  • A. l. lathami#R J. E. Gray, 1831 – Yellow-pouched Brush-turkey – C & S Queensland and E New South Wales.
  • Introduced to Kangaroo I (off South Australia), where still survives; also to Dunk I (off EC Queensland), where may persist; in past, released at Kaipara, in N North Island (New Zealand), but species failed to become established.

    Descriptive notes

    60–70 cm; male 2120–2950 g, female 1980–2510 g. Unmistakable within range, due to large size, brightly coloured bare skin and mostly black plumage with... read more


    Only adult male gives booming call, which is usually either monosyllabic (“oom”) or... read more


    Typically occurs in closed areas of rainforest along coast, in tropical and warm temperate zones;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very poorly known. Omnivorous, with apparent preference for plant food, but no quantitative analyses performed. Seeds, grain, shoots, roots... read more


    Mound building starts May–Jun (winter) in SE Queensland; mounds abandoned Jan–Feb; race purpureicollis (Cape York)... read more


    Sedentary. Males remain within home range all year and in successive years; home range considerably... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: Safe. Total population reckoned to be stable at over 100,000 individuals. Main problem is clearance of forested areas,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Elliott, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 March 2018).