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Australian Brush-Turkey

Australian Brush-Turkey
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f2.8 IF-ED VR
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-07-23 17:55
Viewed: 4610
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Australian Brush-Turkey (Alectura lathami) is the largest of Australia’s three megapodes - mound builders (family Megapodiidae), growing up to 70 cm. The one in this shot is a little smaller than that. During breeding season the yellow wattle seen in this shot would be much larger, to the point where it can swing from side to side. These birds are not related to the North American Turkey.

These birds can be found mainly in the rainforest area within Eastern Australia ranging from Cape York Peninsula south to the northern suburbs of Sydney. They feed on insects, seeds and fallen fruits. They typically feed by raking leaf litter or breaking open rotten logs with their large strong feet. The birds will take advantage of picnic areas and with little fear (or intelligence) they will steal food from tables. This shot was taken in a picnic area next to the rainforest.

The birds incubate their eggs in large mounds. The male usually builds a single large mound of organic matter, approximately 4 m in diameter and 1 m high. Up to 50 eggs are laid by several females in a single mound. The eggs are heated by the rotting of the organic matter. The male regulates a temperature of 33 – 38 degrees C by digging holes in the mound and inserting his bill to check the heat. The eggs hatch after approximately seven weeks. After hatching the chicks burrow out of the mound, at which time they are left to fend for themselves. They are able to fly several hours after hatching.

Much of this from: http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/brush_turkey.htm
ID from: Simpson K. and Day N. (2004), Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Penguin Books, Camberwell.

Workflow for this shot was as follows:
Shot in Raw - NEF files adjusted for exposure and shadow (maximums)
Adjusted levels
Adjusted curves – done in 2 separate layers to help show the texture in the feathers (fine tuning)
Burned and Dodged with overlay layer (5% opacity black and white brush)
Reduced noise selectively on the grass
Added a saturation layer +15 to master -30 to green
Added a layer for sharpening and “over-sharpened” with USM
Modified sharpening with a layer mask (30% opacity black brush)
Saved as a tiff
For this post, cropped, sharpened edges, framed, and saved as a jpeg

Matt-Bird, Mariol, loot, marhowie, pablominto, mvdisco, pierrefonds, mlines has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To mlines: Bird IdentificationJPlumb 1 02-18 00:12
To Matt-Bird: Boil it with a StoneJPlumb 1 07-25 05:36
To loot: Rare and SignificantJPlumb 1 07-25 05:35
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Mariol Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 15 N: 1654] (8221)
  • [2007-07-23 20:50]

Hi John,
Interesting bird with a sort of strange expresion on his face! Wonderful colors and good pose. Good note. TFS
Regards, Mario

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-07-23 22:05]

An interesting bird. Very good color saturation. I like that little yellow "wattle." Nice definition in that dark plummage. Nice side POV. It looks as if it was frozen in place.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2007-07-24 0:34]
  • [3] [+]

Hi John

This one seems to be no exception to the rule as just like with all turkeys it is definitively not designed to win any beauty contests. However, I will not penalise you for that shortcoming since you did fine with the capture of this extraordinary bird with its red face and head. As far as I can tell this is only the 2nd posting of a Brush-Turkey and (IMHO) it is by far the better contribution to TREKNature. For this reason it has joined my theme on "RARE & SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN".

The green surrounding and BG does well to make the bird stand out. The colours are well saturated, the details are pretty sharp with good contrasts on the dark plumage, and the exposure was well controlled.

Good work and TFS.

Hi John,
I haven't seen one of these in awhile. I used to live in Townsville and I would see them all the time. They have great colours and are a good subject for photos. A nice shot.

ps. I was told by an old friend in Townsville that if you wanted to eat one of these you would boil it with a stone and when ready remove the bird and eat the stone. The taste I quess is non existant of really bad.

Good shot John
Nice sharpness and good composition


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-07-24 20:07]

Hello John

Another interesting and exotic bird.The plumage details and colours are very good.Excellent eye detail too.Well focused with a very good POV.well done.TFS


Hello John,
Interesting to see a wild turkey with a natural boby shape and not like the ones bred for meat!
Attractive colours and fine details are captured, classical clean composition!
Pablo -

Bonjour John,
Excellent composition and note of the turkey, lovely colors and sharpness picture, fine details ..well done.

Hi John,

A nice image of the australian brush turkey, the photo has a good composition, sharpness and nice colors. Thanks for sahring.


Hi John, You are very good at identifying birds from around here. Puts many of us locals to shame! Good steady clear photo with realistic colours. Good to see this bird. It seems to have a small head compared to the body, maybe bulky feathers. TFS. Murray.

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