Monday, 22 November 2010
Hooray for the brush turkeys!
That's something you don't hear very often. If ever.
This male brush turkey (Alectura lathami) has taken over the scrubfowl mound. This is A Good Thing. When it comes to construction, turkeys know when to stop. Those scrubfowl were going to keep on building until they had blocked the drive with a leafy, muddy mountain.
The preferred temperature range for incubation is 32 – 36⁰C. Pa Turkey attends every day to ensure that the eggs inside the mound are doing all right. When I took these photos, he was scraping off some of the leaves to cool it down.
The sex ratio of turkey chicks depends on incubation temperature. At lower temperatures, more males hatch; at higher temperatures, the number of female hatchlings increases. This is a result of embryo mortality rather than temperature-dependent sex determination.
I'm sure the spotted tree monitors (Varanus timorensis) will have already sussed out the mound. I hope that at least some the eggs make it through to hatching. The brush turkeys here are reasonably well behaved.