Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Order: Galliformes,  Family: Phasianidae

Appearance/Behavior: The wild turkey is large (94 -117 cm) with a featherless head (blue arrow). It is relatively long-legged and is primarily a ground bird.  The plumage is dark brown with some white barring (red arrow) on the flight feathers.  The male exhibits a red wattle (red, fleshy projection on the neck) and black bib of feathers that project from the chest.  Wild turkeys visit the piles either individually or in groups of up to ten birds.  In some encounters, crows co-occur on the pile with turkeys.

Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: A somewhat common visitor.

Seasonal Activity: Year-round.

Daily Activity:  Strictly diurnal.

Similar Species:  The turkey vulture might be confused with its namesake, the wild turkey.  The turkey vulture has a relatively smaller head with a more sharply hooked beak and shorter legs.  Its brown plumage is more uniform, lacking the contrasting white barring on the flight feathers as seen on the wild turkey’s wings.  While wild turkeys are most often observed in groups, to date all turkey vulture encounters have involved solitary birds.

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