Wild Turkey: Large, ground-walking bird, iridescent dark brown overall with black and green bars, small, featherless, blue head, and red throat wattles. Breast beard (modified feathers) is black. Legs have spurs. Female is smaller, duller, and usually lacks spurs and beard. Ancestor of the domestic turkey, which shows white-tipped tail instead of brown-tipped tail.
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: Feeds on seeds, acorns, leaves, grains, berries, and insects. Young birds feed primarily on insects for the first few weeks of life, and then shift to a diet similar to that of adults.
Berries, Cracked Corn
Wild Turkey: Makes gobbling calls similar to those of domestic turkey. Also utters clucking calls "cluk, cluk, cut, putt."
Wild Turkey: None in range.