Wild Turkey

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Wild Turkey
Missing image
Wild_turkey.jpg
Wild turkey


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Galliformes
Family:Meleagrididae
Genus:Meleagris
Species:gallopavo
Binomial name
Meleagris gallopavo
Linnaeus, 1758
This article is about a type of bird. For the type of bourbon whiskey, see Wild Turkey (bourbon).

The Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a large gamebird, one of a number of species of turkey.

Adults have a bluish featherless small head, a red throat, long legs and a dark body. They have a long dark fan-shaped tail. Their wings are a glossy bronze. As with many other species of the Galliformes, they exhibit strong sexual dimorphism - males have red wattles on the throat and neck and are significantly larger than females.

The breeding habitat is wooded areas, usually with clearings, across most of the United States and parts of southern Canada, where they are permanent residents. They nest on the ground at the bottom of a tree, shrub or in tall grass.

Male birds display for females by puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tails, inflating the wattles on their neck and drooping wings. Males are polygamous, and they form territories that may have as many as 5 hens within.

The birds forage on the ground or climb shrubs to eat berries. They are omnivorous, eating acorns, seeds, berries, roots and insects, sometimes snakes, frogs or salamanders.

They are relatively weak fliers and will escape on foot if possible; at night, these birds roost in trees. They are capable of achieving speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) in flight.

Only the males "gobble"; the females cluck. The males also emit a low-pitched thumping sound. This bird was Benjamin Franklin's preference as the national bird for the United States. It has been adopted as the official game bird of South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma and Massachusetts.

It is the traditional main dish for the Thanksgiving holiday, which is held in November in the United States and October in Canada, but of course it is now normally replaced by the domesticated turkey. The Aztecs domesticated the southern Mexican form, M. g. gallopavo, one of the six subspecies.

Missing image
Male_north_american_turkey_supersaturated.jpg
Male turkey

The range and numbers of this bird had decreased at the beginning of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitat, and game officials made efforts to protect and encourage the breeding of the surviving wild population. As the wild turkey's numbers rebounded in the 1980s and 1990s, hunting was legalized in most states.


See also

External links

  • National Wild Turkey Federation (http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/)
    Missing image
    Wild_turkey_eastern_us.jpg
    Wild turkey from the Eastern part of USA
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