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Turkey Species Facts and Information

Eastern Wild Turkey

Eastern Wild Turkey
The Eastern Wild Turkey is the biggest of the five subspecies of turkeys that inhabit North America. Adult male turkeys, also known as a gobbler or tom, average 4 feet (122 cm) in height and weigh up to 25 pounds (11 kg) and on occasion have been known to weigh up to 35 pounds (16 kg). Juvenile male turkeys, also known as jakes, will typically be half the size of a mature turkey, weighing an average of 15 - 20 pounds (7 – 9 kg). The Eastern Wild Turkey is characterized by light brown tipped tail coverts (the smaller feathers that cover the larger feathers) and dark brown tail feather tips. The breast feathers usually have black tips, while the body feathers are an iridescence of copper and bronze. Female turkeys, also known as hens, can be the same height as males, but weigh about 8 – 14 pounds (4 – 6 kg).

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Merriam's Wild Turkey

Merriam's Wild Turkey
Merriam’s Wild Turkeys are close in size to the Eastern Wild Turkey, but tend to weigh less than their related subspecies. Adult male turkeys, also known as a gobbler or tom, average 4 feet (122 cm) in height and weigh on average 18 - 24 pounds (8 - 11 kg) and have been known to weigh up to 25 - 28 pounds (113 - 13 kg). Juvenile male turkeys, also known as jakes, will typically be a third of the size of a mature turkey, weighing an average of 15 - 20 pounds (7 – 9 kg). The Merriam’s Wild Turkey is characterized by near white tipped tail coverts (the smaller feathers that cover the larger feathers) and white tail feather tips. The breast feathers usually have white tips, while the body feathers are an iridescence of purple, blue and bronze. Female turkeys, also known as hens, can be the same height as males, but weigh about 8 – 14 pounds (4 – 6 kg).

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Osceola Wild Turkey

Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey
The Osceola Wild Turkey, also known as the Florida Turkey can only be found on the Florida peninsula. This bird is smaller and darker in color than the Eastern Wild Turkey and was named after the famous Seminole Chief Osceola in 1890. Adult male turkeys, also known as a gobbler or tom, average 3.5 feet (106 cm) in height and weigh up to 25 pounds (11 kg). Juvenile male turkeys, also known as jakes, will typically be half the size of a mature turkey, weighing an average of 15 - 20 pounds (7 – 9 kg). The Osceola Wild Turkey is characterized by dark brown tipped tail coverts (the smaller feathers that cover the larger feathers) and dark brown tail feather tips. The breast feathers usually have black tips, while the body feathers are an iridescence of red-green and bronze. Compared to the “Eastern”, the Osceola Turkey tend to be generally darker in color, slightly smaller in size, and have less white barring in their wing feathers. Female turkeys, also known as hens, can be the same height as males, but weigh about 8 – 14 pounds (4 – 6 kg).

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Rio Grande Wild Turkey

Rio Grande Wild Turkey
The Rio Grande Wild Turkey is similar in size to the Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey but tend to have longer legs giving them the same height as their Eastern Wild Turkey. Adult male turkeys, also known as a gobbler or tom, average 4 feet (122 cm) in height and weigh up to 20 pounds (9 kg), but have been known to weigh as much as 25 pounds (11 kg). Juvenile male turkeys, also known as jakes, will typically be the same height, but may weigh a third less than a mature male. Rio Grande Wild Turkeys are characterized by have the tips of the tail and covert feathers yellowish or tan in color. Rio Grande Turkeys tend to be lighter than their Eastern and Osceola (Florida) turkeys, but usually darker than the Merriam’s turkey. Their body feathers are an iridescence of copper, bronze and sometimes have a greenish sheen. Female turkeys, also known as hens, can be the same height as males, but typically weigh 9 – 14 pounds (4 – 6 kg).

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