The Bush Hen is a common but very rarely seen inhabitant of the Mission Beach rainforests. A ground dweller and belonging to the Rail family, Bush Hens are smaller then chickens but as loud as the average rooster. The most often heard call is a donkey like braying usually given at dusk. The birds will emerge from the rainforest but rarely leave dense cover.
Their nests are often found amongst tall grasses, an untidy structure the size of a football with a side opening. Their diet is composed of insect life collected from the forest floor and occasionally a quiet observer who is close to the birds may hear a sharp clicking call as pairs of Bush hens maintain contact in their darkened homes.
Look or listen for this elusive species in any rainforest area but particularly along creeks.
Good luck and good birding
Adrian Walker aka Professor Birdbrain
Adrian’s book – Birds of Mission Beach and environs is available through the Mission Beach Visitor Centre at $5.00 plus postage. To purchase call on 07 4068 7099 or email email@example.com