Wild turkey Facts

Wild turkey Facts
Wild turkey is large bird that belongs to the order Galiformes which includes chickens and turkeys. There are six subspecies of wild turkey that are native to North America. Wild turkeys can be found in Hawaii, New Zealand and Europe today. These birds inhabit forests, grasslands and swamps. Population of wild turkeys was large and stable until the beginning of 20th century. Excessive hunting and habitat destruction led to dramatic decrease in the number of wild turkeys. Luckily, conservation efforts (habitat protection and introduction of remaining animals into new habitats) helped in recovery of the population. There are around 7 millions wild turkeys in the wild and they are no longer on the list of endangered animals.
Interesting Wild turkey Facts:
Wild turkeys can reach 30 to 49 inches in length and 5 to 24 pounds of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Body of wild turkey is covered with 5000 to 6000 feathers. Males are more colorful than females. Their feathers are covered with red, green, gold, purple and bronze areas that have metallic glow. Females are covered with brown or grey feathers.
Males have bald red head and throat that are covered with small bumps. They develop 9 inches long beard composed of modified feathers that grow from the chest.
Color of the skin on the head and neck reflects emotional state of male. Different shades of red, white and blue can be seen when male becomes excited.
Wild turkeys have excellent eyesight, but only during the day.
Wild turkeys are diurnal animals (active during the day).
Wild turkeys are omnivores (eat other animals and plants). Their diet consists of different types of seeds, berries, nuts, insects, amphibians and reptiles.
Wild turkeys are fast animals. They can run at the speed of 25 miles per hour and fly at the speed of 55 miles per hour.
Main predators of wild turkeys are eagles, owls, bobcats, cougars, foxes and dogs.
Wild turkeys produce around 30 different sounds for communication. Males use loud calls, called gobbles, to attract females during the mating season. These calls can be heard one mile away.
Mating season takes place during the spring, from March to April.
Males (called gobblers) pull back their wings, display their feathers and spread their fan-like tails to attract females. Males are polygamous, which mean that they mate with more than one female (called hen).
Females use shallow depressions in the ground that are covered with dense vegetation as nesting sites. They lay 10 to 12 eggs during a period of two weeks. Only females take care of the eggs.
Incubation lasts 28 days. Chicks will leave the nest 12 to 24 hours after hatching. They need to learn to fend for themselves as soon as they hatch.
Wild turkeys can survive 3 to 7 years in the wild.

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