Wild Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo




Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, Old World Quail (Phasianidae)

Code 4


Code 6



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Egg Color:

White or buff marked or spotted with brown or red.

Number of Eggs:

8 - 20

Incubation Days:

27 - 28

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground, at the base of a tree hidden in vegetation.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and leaves.





Wild Turkey: Large ground-walking bird, iridescent dark brown overall with black and green bars, small, featherless blue head and red throat wattles. Males' breast beard of modified feathers is black. Legs have spurs. Female is smaller, duller, usually lacks spurs and beard; brown-tipped tail. Juvenile is smaller and has dark colored down on their head and neck; lacks metallic reflections; overall dark brown with buff streaks, black sub-terminal marks and rufous or buff tipped wing coverts and body feathers.

Range and Habitat

Wild Turkey: Resident throughout much of the United States and extreme southern Canada extending south to inland Mexico. Introduced to many western states, including California and the Pacific Northwest. Inhabits oak and pine forests; young birds need open areas, which allow them to forage for insects.

Breeding and Nesting

Wild Turkey: Eight to twenty white or buff eggs, marked or spotted with brown or red, are laid in a shallow ground depression lined with a few leaves and grass and built at the base of a tree or in dense vegetation. Incubation ranges from 27 to 28 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Wild Turkey: Their diet includes vegetable matter with smaller amounts of animal matter, primarily invertebrates and cold-blooded vertebrates; grit is important. They are extremely adaptable and catholic in feeding. They forage on the ground in flocks, occasionally mounting shrubs or low trees for fruits. They scratch the forest floor for acorns and nuts in the fall.

Readily Eats

Berries, Cracked Corn


Wild Turkey: Makes gobbling calls similar to those of domestic turkey. Also utters clucking calls "cluk, cluk, cut, putt."

Similar Species

Wild Turkey: None in range.

The upper front part of a bird.
Wing covertsX
The feathers that cover and protect the flight feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X