Surname: Turkey chicken
Other names: Turkey, wild turkey
Latin name: Meleagris gallopavo
size: 75 - 125 cm
mass: 4 - 12 kg
Older: 8 - 15 years
Appearance: black or dark brown plumage, red neck and flap
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Omnivore (omnivor)
food: Leaves, seeds, roots, tubers, fruits, insects, nuts and reptiles and amphibians
distribution: USA, Mexico, Australia, Central Europe
original origin: USA and Mexico
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Deciduous and mixed forests close to fields and meadows
natural enemies: Owl, fox, lynx, possum, cougar, snakes, raccoon, wolf
sexual maturity: with the second year of life
mating season: January - April
breeding season: 28 days
litter size: 6 - 14 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the turkey
- The turkey or Meleagris gallopavo describes a species of bird within the pheasant species that is native to North America.
- With the exception of Alaska, it is distributed in all states of the USA as well as in many parts of Mexico. After various attempts to settle in Europe in the 20th century, which are hardly successful in the long term, the turkey today is only sporadically found in the Czech Republic.
- Since it was domesticated long ago by the indigenous peoples of North America, especially the Aztecs, it is considered the wild archetype of today's domestic turkey, better known as turkey.
- The turkey is about a meter tall and weighs up to ten kilograms, with the hens being slightly smaller and significantly lighter than the roosters.
- The plumage appears monochrome black or dark gray and shimmers especially on the wings and on the neck in the light of greenish, bluish and violet.
- The neck is remarkably long, the head very small in relation to the body. The head and upper neck are unfeaded so that the light gray to bluish skin is visible.
- The taps have bright red flaps on the throat and horny outgrowths on the forehead.
- The legs of the turkey, which are very strong, show a reddish color in both sexes.
- The turkey is an omnivore that feeds on seeds, roots, tubers, foliage, fruits and nuts as well as small reptiles and amphibians depending on the season. Turkeys find their food exclusively on the ground.
- Turkeys are very sociable birds that live in larger groups, go foraging together and share sleeping places high up in the trees.
- Because they are insensitive to frost, they are very loyal and remain in their breeding area even in winter.
- Both the adult turkeys and their eggs and juveniles are captured by many different predators. The most important predators include pumas, lynxes, possums, foxes and raccoons.
- The mating season starts in January, in colder regions in March.
- A rooster grazes several chickens, which are then in their soil nests, which are created as hollows in dense vegetation, between eight and fifteen eggs. Due to the location of the nests many eggs and chicks fall prey to small predators, rodents and birds.
- The chicks are hugged for two weeks after hatching, but eat their own food right from the start and follow their mother during her raids during the day.
- The life expectancy of the turkey is about ten years, although most birds do not reach this age because of the many predators.