Published on Jan 6, 2020

Turkey Bird Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

A turkey is either one of two species of large birds in the genus Meleagris. Turkeys are classed in the gamebird order. Formerly, they were considered a distinct family, Meleagrididae, but more recently they were reclassified as a subfamily (Meleagridinae) of the pheasants and their allies. As with many galliform species, the female is smaller than the male, and much less colourful. With their wingspans of 1.5-1.8 meters, the turkeys are by far the largest birds in the open forests in which they live, and are rarely mistaken for any other species.

The two species are the North American Wild Turkey (M. gallopavo) and the Central American Ocellated Turkey (M. ocellata).

The modern domesticated turkey was developed from the Wild Turkey. The Ocellated Turkey was probably also domesticated by the Mayans. It has been speculated that this species is more tractable than its northern counterpart, and was the source of the present domesticated stock, but there is no morphological evidence to support this theory. In particular, the chest tuft of domestic turkeys is a clear indicator of descent from the Wild Turkey, as the Ocellated Turkey does not have this tuft.


Turkeys are widely hunted, particularly the Wild Turkey in North America. Unlike their domestic counterparts, the turkeys are wary and agile flyers.

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