Wild Turkey - Meleagris gallopavo.|
The turkey is the LARGEST gamebird of North America, standing three feet tall, though the wild turkey is leaner than the domesticated variety. A striking quality of the wild turkey are the small iridescent body feathers which produce a shimmering rainbow of colors. The wing feathers are barred, the 'flight' feathers having the most distinct black and white bars. The tail feathers are tipped with chestnut brown among eastern birds, while western birds have tail feathers tipped with white. Adult males often have a 'beard' or long black tuft of feathers hanging from their chest. Females and juveniles, while smaller, tend to lack the sharpness in coloring of adult males. Turkeys forage on the ground for seeds and insects, and they also make their dish-shaped nests on the forest floor. Flocks of two dozen noisy 'gobblers' are not uncommon in my area of Connecticut.
Adapted from National Geographic Society's Field Guide to Birds of North America, 2nd edition, 1987.
© 1994-1999 Tara Prindle.