Meleagris ocellata) that are found in Central America.has one of the widest distributions among game birds of North America. Wild turkeys are found from the western and southern United States to the Atlantic seaboard and New England. Throughout the range there are six sub-species. There is only one other species of wild turkey, ocellated turkeys (
Habitats preferred by wild turkeys include mixed coniferous and deciduous forests, agricultural fields, orchards, and seasonal marshes.
Terrestrial Biomes: forest .
Wetlands: marsh .
Other: agricultural .
(7.92 to 24.2 lbs)
Male wild turkeys have dark, iridescent bodies. The flight feathers are black with brown stripes and are barred with white.has red wattles, a caruncle, and a blackish breast tuft. The wattle is the fleshy lobes that hang down from the chin or throat. The caruncle is the wart-like projections of skin attached to the upper part of the forehead. The legs are spurred and spurs can grow as long as 3.175 centimeters. The leg scales are pink, pinkish gray, or silver gray. The head of the adult gobbler (male) is red, blue, or white depending on the season. Female are smaller and duller than males, and lack a breast tuft. Females also have a grayish head and the back of the neck is feathered.
Male gobblers can range anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds (6.8 to about 11 kg). Hens are usually smaller and weigh in between 8 to 12 pounds (3.6 to 5.4 kg). Weight varies considerably depending on the time of year and resource availability.
Sexual dimorphism: male larger, sexes colored or patterned differently, male more colorful.
During the spring, males will fan out their tails, strut and gobble in an attempt to attract and hold a harem of females. The calls of male wild turkeys (also called a gobble) can be heard 1.61 kilometers away. Wild turkeys are polygynous.
Mating systems: polygynous .
Breeding begins during the spring and eggs are laid two to three weeks after copulation. The hen usually nests on the ground in a depression, and the nest is usually surrounded by dense brush, vines, tangles, deep grass, or fallen tree tops. The nest contains 8 to 15 eggs. The incubation period is 28 days and the young fledge in 6 to 10 days.
Females are responsible for the care of the precocial young.
Parental investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; pre-hatching/birth; pre-weaning/fledging; pre-independence (protecting: female).
The lifespans of wild turkeys vary from 5-12 years.
By daycan be seen grazing in fields and woodlands. At night roosts in trees. is a very wary bird with keen eyesight and hearing. It is also a swift runner and one of the fastest flying game birds alive. A turkey has been recorded flying 88.5 kilometers per hour. In the fall, form flocks with several males accompanying several females. There is no calling (unless the flock gets broken up) and there are no displays similar to those seen in the spring. The main objective is to gather enough fat reserves for the winter.
We do not have information on home range for this species at this time.
Communication and Perception
During the spring, males will fan out their tails, strut and gobble in an attempt to attract and hold a harem of females. The call of male wild turkeys (also called a gobble) can be heard 1.61 kilometers away.
forage mostly on the ground for seeds, nuts, acorns, buds, berries and insects. They usually forage during daylight hours, but are sometimes on the ground looking for food shortly before dawn.
Animal Foods: insects.
Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit.
We do not have information on predation for this species at this time.
Wild turkeys have an impact on the prey they eat and the plants whose seeds and nuts they consume.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse affects of wild turkeys on humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
is one of the most popular game birds in the United States. Turkey hunting brings millions of dollars to states' Department of Natural Resources, public, and private organizations. Turkey hunting enhances conservation efforts by preserving habitat and creating selective hunting seasons to ensure healthy population numbers. There are numerous organizations that want to keep wild turkeys plentiful in many regions of the country.
Ways that people benefit from these animals: food .
Wild turkeys are plentiful and are not endangered or threatened. In fact, many states are starting to introduceinto previously uninhabited areas to increase its range and distribution.