Wild Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo

Order

GALLIFORMES

Family

Turkeys and Grouse (Phasianidae)

Code 4

WITU

Code 6

MELGAL

ITIS

  • wgba_banner
  • ibird_banner
  • journal_banner
1 2 3

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Wild Turkey has a large global range reaching up to generally 4 million square kilometers. This bird can be found in Canada, Mexico and the United States. It also has vagrant populations in Australia and New Zealand as well. This bird dwells in a diversity of environments including forests, savanna, shrubland, grassland and pasturelands. The global population of this bird is estimated to be around 1.3 million individual birds. Currently, it is not believed that the population trends for this species will soon approach the minimum levels that could suggest a potential decline in population. Due to this, population trends for the Wild Turkey have a present evaluation level of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Wild Turkey: Large, ground-walking bird, iridescent dark brown overall with black and green bars, small, featherless, blue head that changes color according to mood, and red throat wattles. Breast beard (modified feathers) is black. The legs have spurs. It is the largest game bird in North America.


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.

whatbird search for your browser

SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"cluk, cluk, cut, putt"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Wild Turkey is one of only two domesticated birds originating in the New World. The other is the Muscovy Duck. European explorers took them to Europe from Mexico in the early 1500s. They were so successfully domesticated there that English colonists brought them back with them when they settled on the Atlantic Coast.
  • The idea that Benjamin Franklin preferred the Turkey as the national bird of the United States comes from a letter he wrote to his daughter in 1784. He criticized the choice of the Eagle as the national bird and suggested that a Turkey would have made a better alternative.
  • The range and numbers of Wild Turkeys had decreased in the early 1900s’ due to hunting and loss of habitat. Game managers believe their numbers were as low as 30,000. Current estimates place their population at over 7 million.
  • A group of turkeys has many collective nouns, including a "crop", "dole", "gang", "posse", and "raffle" of turkeys.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Wild Turkey

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
ChestX
Also called the breast area, it is the frontal area on the body containing the breastplate and major flight muscles.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X