The Australian brush turkey or Australian brush-turkey (Alectura lathami), also frequently called the scrub turkey or bush turkey, is a common, widespread species of mound-building bird from the family Megapodiidae found in eastern Australia from Far North Queensland to Illawarra in New South Wales. The Australian brush turkey has also been introduced to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It is the largest extant representative of the family Megapodiidae and is one of three species to inhabit Australia. Despite its name and their superficial similarities, the bird is not closely related to American turkeys, or to the Australian bustard, which is also known as the bush turkey.
They build large nests on the ground made of leaves, other combustible material and earth, 1 to 1.5 metres high (3-4.5 ft) and up to 4 m (13 ft) across. Mound-building is done by a dominant male, and visited by a succession of local females, for mating and egg-laying. The male works tirelessly, collecting material from all around, and also diligently repelling rival males, who are keen to usurp his position. The effort involved eventually wears him down, and he will ultimately be defeated by a new king.
Brush Turkey eggs are a favourite food of goannas, snakes, and also dingoes and dogs though brush turkeys were also a staple of Aboriginal Australians. Often goannas exhibit wounds on their tails from having been pecked by brush turkeys who ferociously chase them away from their nests.
In situations where they come into contact with humans, such as picnic areas in national parks and suburban gardens, brush turkeys exhibit little fear and will often boldly attempt to steal food from tables and raid compost bins.