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Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding



(Elliott and Kirwan 2017)

  • Diet is poorly known
    • No quantitative studies
  • May prefer plant-based foods


(Jones et al. 1995; Elliott and Kirwan 2017)

  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Grains
  • Shoots and roots


  • Frogs (Jones et al. 1995; Elliott and Kirwan 2017)
  • Snails (in managed care) (Coles 1937; Elliott and Kirwan 2017)
  • Worms (Elliott and Kirwan 2017)
  • Insects and insect larvae (Jones et al. 1995; Elliott and Kirwan 2017)
  • Carrion (Marchant and Higgins 1993; Elliott and Kirwan 2017)

Age-related changes in diet

  • Young feed on invertebrates before beginning to eat seeds (Elliott and Kirwan 2017)
  • Young feed on small invertebrates, fruits, seeds, and berries (Jones et al. 1995)
  • Adults feed on large fruits, insects, snails, small snakes, frogs, and mice (Jones et al. 1995)


Finding food

(Elliott and Kirwan 2017)

  • Scratch in leaf litter
  • Dig for roots
  • Break open rotting wood for insects (e.g., termites)
  • Foraging groups have been observed at landfills

Identification of appropriate food

  • Young Brush-turkeys learn what to eat through trial and error (Göth and Proctor 2002)

A Taste for Fruits and Seeds

Australian Brush-turkey standing by coconut

A Brush-turkey investigates a coconut.

The diet of Brush-turkeys is poorly known. They eat variety of plants and animals.

Image credit: © Graham Winterflood via Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike License 2.0.

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