SCIENTIFIC NAME: Meleagris gallapavo silvestris
STATUS: Breeder. Fairly common in all seasons and regions. Lowest Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTON: The eastern wild turkey is one of the largest of the five subspecies of wild turkey that inhabit North America. The adult male, called a gobbler, may measure up to four feet tall and weigh more than 20 pounds. The upper tail covert feathers of the gobbler are tipped with chestnut brown and the long tail feathers are tipped with dark buff or chocolate brown. The breast feathers of the male are tipped in black. The gobbler’s body feathers are characterized by their rich, metallic, and copper/bronze iridescence. His head and neck area is largely featherless with red, white, and blue coloration that is most prominent during the spring mating season. The gobbler is also characterized by the presence of a beard that protrudes from the breast and spurs on the legs. A mature female is called a hen and will weigh between eight and 12 pounds. The hen has an overall brown appearance as compared to a gobbler and the metallic reflections are less brilliant. The breast feathers of the female are brown or buff tipped. The hen’s head and neck are mostly feathered, dull blue in coloration, and smaller than a gobbler’s head and neck.