Wild Turkey

Wild Turkeys are hard to miss. Their large size, puffed feathers, and fanned tail make them highly identifiable. Males are significantly larger than females, having a naked red-and-blue head along with varying feather colors and patterns. Females are dark brown overall with dark barring, and no fanned tail feathers.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Meleagris gallopavo
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
3-5 Years
SIZE
36-44 ” | 5-24 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Upland Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark
  • Alpine forests of the Sierras
  • Marsh
  • Pinyon juniper forests

Threats

  • Disease

Natural History

Wild Turkeys forage in flocks, eating mostly nuts, fruits, and seeds from sedges and grasses. Occasionally will include salamanders, snails, and beetles in their diet. They mostly walk to get around, but will jump and fly short distances. Males create all-male flocks when not in breeding season, whereas females will rear chicks with a small group of other females. Turkeys are hunted by coyotes, mountain lions, eagles, bobcats, and people.

Fun Facts

Although large in size, Turkeys will sleep in trees. The snoods, or fleshy appendages on the face of the males, is important for mating. Longer snoods are more preferred among females