The Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) is also commonly referred to as the plains turkey, and in Central Australia as bush turkey, particularly by aboriginal people.
It is the largest flying land bird in Australia, found in grassland, woodland and open agricultural country. It is relatively common across most of northern Australia but its range has contracted nearer settlement due to hunting, feral predators and habitat destruction.
When disturbed, Australian Bustards will often adopt a cryptic pose with neck erect and bill pointed skywards. The will stalk gradually away or run if alarmed, taking flight as a last resort. Populations are highly nomadic, following rain and feed.
The Bustard is an important food source for aboriginal people in Central Australia, and is still being killed and eaten despite its protected status. The white feathers of the bird are used for ceremonial purposes.
Australian Bustard, Birdlife Australia, retrieved 21 September 2016
© Kim Epton 12016-2018
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