Turkey
Meleagris gallopavo

CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Galliformes
FAMILY: Phasianidae

SIZE:
40 - 50 inches in length; up to 40 lbs.

RANGE:
Most of the United States except extreme west and northwest areas, most of Mexico into Central America

HABITAT:
Forests, preferably ones with clearings

DIET:

  • Wild - Acorns, chestnuts, cherries, strawberries, grapes, beech nuts, and other nuts; if near tilled soil will eat wheat, corn, and oats; seeds, grass and insects
  • Zoo - Grain

DESCRIPTION:

  • Dark metallic green, gold, copper and bronze plumage with dark and light bands
  • Skin of head and neck bare, rough, warty, and blue and red in color
  • Soft fleshy growth at the forehead which swells during courtship
  • Pendant wattle at front of neck
  • Bundle of long, coarse bristles stands out from the center of the breast.

FACTS:

  • Prefer walking to flying, can fly half a mile or more
  • Find almost all their food on the ground
  • Do not establish lasting pair-bonds; sexual maturity at two years; courtship behavior which includes raising and spreading tail feathers, swelling and change of color of the neck, and making sounds resembling "gobble, gobble, gobble," has earned him the nickname "gobbler"

STATUS:
Not threatened; regulated in the U.S. as a game bird

REFERENCE:
"Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia," Vol. 7 Birds I, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek