Turkeys are one of most popular and recognizable birds in the United States. In fact it was almost our national bird. To learn more check out these fun turkey facts for kids!
What is a turkey?
A turkey is a large bird native to North America. They are mostly domesticated but also live in the wild. There are two different species of turkeys the wild turkey and the ocellated turkey.
There are five subspecies of wild turkeys: Eastern Wild Turkey, Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Merriam’s Wild Turkey, and Gould’s Wild Turkey.
They live across North America.
Wild Turkeys spend their days looking for and eating food such as acorns, seeds, small insects, berries, and fruits.
Wild Turkeys live in open forests. They sleep in trees.
Ocellated Turkeys live in South Eastern Mexico, Northern Belize, and Northern Guatemala.
What is the Difference between Wild Turkeys and Ocellated Turkeys?
It is easy to tell the difference between Wild Turkeys and Ocellated Turkeys.
Ocellated Turkeys have a mixture of bronze, green and blue feathers, similar to a peacock.
Wild Turkeys have mostly brown feathers.
Ocellated Turkeys are smaller and also weigh less than Wild Turkeys.
What do Turkey’s Look Like?
Turkeys are large round birds with dark feathers. Some domesticated turkey feathers are white.
Their back feather sit up and are spread out similar to a fan.
Male turkeys weigh between 8-24 pounds and are about 4ft long.
Female turkeys weigh between 7-16 pounds and are about 3ft long.
Adult turkeys have around 3,500 feathers.
Parts of a turkey
- Wattle- The flap of the skin under the turkey chin. It is reddish in color. The wattle turns bright red when a turkey anxious or worried and when he is attracting a mate.
- Spur- A spike above each foot.
- Carbuncle – Reddish growth on a turkey head and upper neck
- Tail Fan – Long feathers behind the turkey
- Beards- A bundle of long feathers on turkeys chest
- Bill – Hard, sharp beak
Can Turkeys Fly?
Have you even seen a turkey flying through the sky? Maybe you have, that is because the answer to this question is yes, turkeys can fly, well sometimes.
Wild turkeys can fly. Wild turkeys can fly up to speeds of 55 miles per hour for short distances.
Domesticated turkeys ( turkeys that live on farms) usually can’t fly. This is because they are usually too heavy to fly. Both wild and domesticated turkeys can also run fast. They can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour.
Fun Facts About Turkeys
A male turkey is called a Tom or gobbler. Female turkeys are called hens. Baby turkeys are called a poult or sometimes a chick. A group of turkeys is called a flock.
Only male turkeys can gobble. Females can not gobble.
There is a ballroom dance called the Turkey Trot.
Turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour.
Turkey is America’s 4th popular meat, it comes behind chicken, beef and pork.
Predators to a turkey are snakes, raccoons, wildcats, and humans.
Turkey is not only a bird. There is a country named Turkey. Turkey is a country in the Middle East. Approximately 85 million people live in Turkey.
What do Turkeys Eat?
Turkeys are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and animals.
Turkeys eat nuts, seeds, fruits, berries, insects, small reptiles, and amphibians.
Hens can lay between 6-18 eggs. On average they lay 12 eggs.
The eggs take about one month to hatch.
Baby turkeys cannot fly for two weeks.
When we buy eggs from a store we usually buy chicken eggs, but did you know that turkey eggs are edible too? It’s true, most people say that they taste similar to eggs laid buy chickens.
They are slightly bigger than chicken eggs and the shell is a little bit tougher but chicken and turkey eggs are similar.
So, how come we don’t eat turkey eggs? There are a couple of reasons but the biggest one is that turkeys do not lay as many eggs are chickens or even ducks. Chickens can lay an egg every day.
Turkeys usually lay between 1-2 eggs per week. It wouldn’t make sense for a farmer to raise turkeys for eggs when chickens can make them faster.
Turkey is a popular dish served on holidays including Christmas and Thanksgiving.
When people think of Thanksgiving they think of turkey. Did you know that over 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving?
The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
Turkey has more protein than beef or chicken.
There is no way to prove that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving.
The national bird in the United States of America is the bald eagle but did you know it was almost a turkey? It’s true!
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be America’s national bird. However, he was outvoted and the eagle became the national bird.
Click the link to get a downloadable Color by Number Turkey