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Wild Turkeys


Wild Turkeys Photo

A turkey is either of two living species of large birds in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The other species, Meleagris ocellata, known as the Ocellated Turkey, is native to the forests of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

The Domestic turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey.

Turkeys are classed in the taxonomic order of Galliformes. Within this order they are relatives of the family/subfamily Tetraonidae (grouse). Turkeys have a distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak, and a fleshy protuberance that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood. With wingspans of 1.5–1.8 meters (almost 6 feet), the turkeys are by far the largest birds in the open forests in which they live. As with many Galliform species the female (hen) is smaller than the male (tom or gobbler) and is much less colorful.