WILD TURKEY


Meleagris gallopavo


Description:

The sight of a Wild Turkey usually doesn't bring the idea of flight to mind. But oddily enough, turkeys are strong fliers and can reach up to 55 mph for short distances. They are also fast runners and are able to attain speeds of 15-30 mph. Wild Turkeys usually travel in flocks. A previous food source for native americans and other North American cultures, the turkey was nearly hunted to extinction. But newly formed habitat and re-introduction have helped this species make a comeback.


Appearance:

Male: Overall dark brown plumage with an iridescent bronze and greenish sheen. Black and white barring on sides and wing primaries. Small unfeathered bluish and/or reddish head and throat. Long throat wattle and "warty" forehead. Small projection, or "spur", ontop of the bill. Long neck. Dark, fan-shaped tail with chestnut, buff, or white tail tips. Reddish legs. 48 inches in length.

Female: Similar to male, except smaller, less iridescent, and lacks the bill "spur" and long throat wattle. 36 inches in length.


Habitat:

Mountain forests (broadleaf and pine), clearings.


Nesting:

8-15 buff eggs with brown spots. The eggs have a 27-28 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in ? days. The nest is a shallow ground depression lined with grass and leaves.


Observed Locations:

  • Paso Picaco campground, Cuyamaca State Park
  • Robinson's cabin, Palomar Mountain
  • Off Hwy 79 between Santa Ysabel and Lake Henshaw





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.