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.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.
through 21 Courtesy of the U.S.D.A.
Pictures 22 throught 30 Courtesy of the N.R.C.S.