Eastern Wild Turkeys

The Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) inhabits roughly the eastern half of the country, from New.England and southern Canada to the northern parts of Florida.

They can be found in Texas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. They have also been successfully transplanted in states outside of its orginal range, including California, Oregon and Washington.

This turkey prefers hardwood and mixed forest habitats.

This turkey is the most widely distributed, abundant and hunted subspecies of the five distinct subspecies found in the United States.


Individual eastern wild turkey can grow to be among the largest of any of the subspecies.

The adult male can measure up to 4 feet tall and weigh more than 20 pounds. His upper tail coverts, covering the base of the long tail feathers, are tipped with chestnut brown and its tail feathers are tipped with dark buff or chocolate brown.

In contrast, his breast feathers are tipped in black. Rich, metallic, and copper/bronze iridescence characterize other body feathers.

Eastern Wild Turkey

The primary wing feathers have white and black bars that extend from the outer edge of each all the way to the shaft.

Secondary wing feathers have prominent white bars and are edged in white, producing a whitish triangular area on each side of the back when the wings are folded on the back.

The hen is usually lighter than the male, weighing between eight and twelve pounds. Females are similar in color to the males but more brown, and the metallic reflections are less brilliant.

Feathers of the hen’s breast, flanks and sides are tipped with brown rather than the black and white tips of the male.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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