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Osceola Wild Turkey
 Osceola Wild Turkey Facts and Information

Osceola Wild Turkey

Common Name: Osceola Wild Turkey (Florida Wild Turkey)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Meleagris
Species: Meleagris gallopavo
Subspecies: Meleagris gallopavo osceola

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).
Osceola Wild Turkey - Left Foot Print
Left Foot Print
Osceola Wild Turkey - Right Foot Print
Right Foot Print

Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey Distribution/Habitat

Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey - Distribution

The Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey can only be found in Florida, and for that reason hunters prize these birds because of their unique and small distribution. The primary distribution is the center two-thirds of the Florida peninsula and the bird is often found in scrub patches of palmetto and near swamp areas. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 birds are believed to live throughout the central peninsula, but due to the density of the swamps and other surrounding habitat, an accurate estimate of the population is difficult.

Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey Diet

Eastern Wild Turkey - Eating

Osceola has a variety of foods in their diet ranging from grapes, blackberries, beechnut , acorns, and grain, such as corn and oats. They also enjoy eating insects such as grasshoppers and beetles and on occasion will eat amphibian prey such as small lizards and frogs located near the edge of swamp areas.

Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey Reproduction

Eastern Wild Turkey - Egg Nest
Credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson

Osceola turkeys have been known to start gobbling as early as January in southern Florida and mating 3-4 weeks following. Hens lay their eggs typically in mid-April laying an average of 8 – 12 eggs. Young turkeys (also known as poults) will start hatching in mid-May. The incubation period for the Osceola Turkey is 26 – 28 days, similar to their close relative the Eastern Wild Turkey.

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