Turkey (bird)

The turkey is a large bird in the genus Meleagris, which is native to the Americas. Males of both turkey species have a distinctive fleshy wattle or protuberance that hangs from the top of the beak (called a snood). They are among the largest birds in their ranges. As in many galliformes, the male is larger and much more colorful than the female.

Temporal range: 23–0 Ma
Early Miocene – Recent
Wild turkey eastern us
Wild turkey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Meleagridinae
Genus: Meleagris
Linnaeus, 1758
Meleagris gallopavo MHNT.ZOO.2010.11.9.30
Meleagris gallopavo - MHNT


Turkeys are classed in the family of Phasianidae (pheasants, partridges, francolins, junglefowl, grouse, and relatives thereof) in the taxonomic order of Galliformes.[1] The genus Meleagris is the only extant genus in the subfamily Meleagridinae, formerly known as the family Meleagrididae, but now subsumed within the family Phasianidae.

Extant species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Wild turkey Point Pelee NP 2014 Meleagris gallopavo domestic turkey or wild turkey forests of North America, from Mexico (where they were first domesticated by the Mayans)[2] throughout the midwest and eastern United States, and into southeastern Canada
Meleagris ocellata -Guatemala-8a Meleagris ocellata ocellated turkey forests of the Yucatán Peninsula[3]

History and naming

1 Wild Turkey
Plate 1 of The Birds of America by John James Audubon, depicting a wild turkey

Turkeys were domesticated in ancient Mexico, for food and/or for their cultural and symbolic significance.[4] The Aztecs, for example, had a name for the turkey, wueh-xōlō-tl (guajolote in Spanish), a word still used in modern Mexico in addition to the general term pavo. Spanish chroniclers, including Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Father Bernardino de Sahagun, describe the multitude of food (both raw fruits and vegetables as well as prepared dishes) that were offered in the vast markets (tianguis) of Tenochtitlán, noting there were tamales made of turkey, iguana, chocolate, vegetables, fruit, and more. The ancient people of Mexico had not only domesticated the turkey but had apparently developed sophisticated recipes including these ingredients—many used to this day—over hundreds of years.

There are two theories for the derivation of the name "turkey", according to Columbia University professor of Romance languages Mario Pei.[5] One theory is that when Europeans first encountered turkeys in America, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl, which were already being imported into Europe by Turkey merchants via Constantinople and were therefore nicknamed Turkey coqs. The name of the North American bird thus became "turkey fowl" or "Indian turkeys", which was then shortened to just "turkeys".[5][6][7]

A second theory arises from turkeys coming to England not directly from the Americas, but via merchant ships from the Middle East, where they were domesticated successfully. Again the importers lent the name to the bird; Middle Eastern merchants were called "Turkey merchants" as much of that area was part of the Ottoman Empire. Hence the name "Turkey-cocks" and "Turkey-hens", and soon thereafter, "turkeys".[5][8]

In 1550, the English navigator William Strickland, who had introduced the turkey into England, was granted a coat of arms including a "turkey-cock in his pride proper".[9] William Shakespeare used the term in Twelfth Night,[10] believed to be written in 1601 or 1602. The lack of context around his usage suggests that the term was already widespread .

Other countries have other names for turkeys. Many of these names incorporate an assumed Indian origin, such as diik Hindi ("Indian rooster") in Arabian countries, dinde ("from India") in French, индюшка (indyushka) ("bird of India") in Russia, indyk in Poland, and Hindi ("India") in Turkey. These are thought to arise from the supposed belief of Christopher Columbus that he had reached India rather than the Americas on his voyage.[5] In Portuguese a turkey is a peru; the name is thought to derive from the eponymous country Perú.[11]

Several other birds that are sometimes called turkeys are not particularly closely related: the brushturkeys are megapodes, and the bird sometimes known as the "Australian turkey" is the Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis). The anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is sometimes called a water turkey, from the shape of its tail when the feathers are fully spread for drying.

An infant turkey is called a "chick" or "poult".

Human conflicts with wild turkeys

Turkeys have been known to be aggressive toward humans and pets in residential areas.[12] Wild turkeys have a social structure and pecking order and habituated turkeys may respond to humans and animals as they do to another turkey. Habituated turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that the birds view as subordinates.[13]

The town of Brookline, Massachusetts, recommends that citizens be aggressive toward the turkeys, take a step towards them, and not back down. Brookline officials have also recommended "making noise (clanging pots or other objects together); popping open an umbrella; shouting and waving your arms; squirting them with a hose; allowing your leashed dog to bark at them; and forcefully fending them off with a broom."[14]

Fossil record

Meleagris ocellata1
Male ocellated turkey, Meleagris ocellata

A number of turkeys have been described from fossils. The Meleagridinae are known from the Early Miocene (c. 23 mya) onwards, with the extinct genera Rhegminornis (Early Miocene of Bell, U.S.) and Proagriocharis (Kimball Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lime Creek, U.S.). The former is probably a basal turkey, the other a more contemporary bird not very similar to known turkeys; both were much smaller birds. A turkey fossil not assignable to genus but similar to Meleagris is known from the Late Miocene of Westmoreland County, Virginia.[3] In the modern genus Meleagris, a considerable number of species have been described, as turkey fossils are robust and fairly often found, and turkeys show great variation among individuals. Many of these supposed fossilized species are now considered junior synonyms. One, the well-documented California turkey Meleagris californica,[15] became extinct recently enough to have been hunted by early human settlers.[16] It has been suggested that its demise was due to the combined pressures of human hunting and climate change at the end of the last glacial period.[17]

The Oligocene fossil Meleagris antiquus was first described by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1871. It has since been reassigned to the genus Paracrax, first interpreted as a cracid, then soon after as a bathornithid Cariamiformes.


  • Meleagris sp. (Early Pliocene of Bone Valley, U.S.)
  • Meleagris sp. (Late Pliocene of Macasphalt Shell Pit, U.S.)
  • Meleagris californica (Late Pleistocene of SW U.S.)—formerly Parapavo/Pavo
  • Meleagris crassipes (Late Pleistocene of SW North America)

Turkeys have been considered by many authorities to be their own family—the Meleagrididae—but a recent genomic analysis of a retrotransposon marker groups turkeys in the family Phasianidae.[18] In 2010, a team of scientists published a draft sequence of the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) genome.[19]

Use by humans

A roast turkey surrounded by Christmas log cake, gravy, sparkling juice, and vegetables

The species Meleagris gallopavo is used by humans for their meat. They were first domesticated by the indigenous people of Mexico from at least 800 BC onwards. These domesticates were then either introduced into what is now the US Southwest or independently domesticated a second time by the indigenous people of that region by 200 BC, at first being used for their feathers, which were used in ceremonies and to make robes and blankets.[20] Turkeys were first used for meat by Native Americans by about AD 1100.[20] Compared to wild turkeys, domestic turkeys are selectively bred to grow larger in size for their meat.[21][22] Americans often eat turkey on special occasions such as at Thanksgiving or Christmas.[23][24]

The Norfolk turkeys

In her written memoirs Lady Dorothy Nevill[25] recalls that her great-grandfather Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, imported a quantity of the American turkeys[25] which were kept in the woods around Wolterton and in all probability were the embryo flock for the popular Norfolk turkey breeds of today.


Indian Turkey Bird (domestic)
Living turkey
Meleagris gallopavo displaying at Deer Island Open Space Preserve

A male turkey strutting


  1. ^ Crowe, Timothy M.; Bloomer, Paulette; Randi, Ettore; Lucchini, Vittorio; Kimball, Rebecca T.; Braun, Edward L. & Groth, Jeffrey G. (2006a): Supra-generic cladistics of landfowl (Order Galliformes). Acta Zoologica Sinica 52(Supplement): 358–361. PDF fulltext
  2. ^ "Earliest use of Mexican turkeys by ancient Maya". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b Farner, Donald Stanley & King, James R. (1971). Avian biology. Boston: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-249408-6.
  4. ^ Nield, David. "Study Shows That Humans Domesticated Turkeys For Worshipping, Not Eating". sciencealert.com.
  5. ^ a b c d Krulwich, Robert (27 November 2008). "Why A Turkey Is Called A Turkey". NPR. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  6. ^ Webster's II New College Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2005, ISBN 978-0-618-39601-6, p. 1217
  7. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2006) The Turkey: An American Story. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-03163-2. p. 17
  8. ^ "The flight of the turkey". The Economist. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  9. ^ Boehrer, Bruce Thomas (2011). Animal characters: nonhuman beings in early modern literature. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 141. ISBN 0812201361.
  10. ^ Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5 No Fear Shakespeare
  11. ^ Dicionário Priberam da Lingua Portuguesa, "peru".
  12. ^ Annear, Steve (24 April 2017). "MassWildlife warns of turkey encounters". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Preventing Conflicts with Wild Turkeys". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  14. ^ Sweeney, Emily (25 August 2017). "Don't let aggressive turkeys bully you, Brookline advises residents". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  15. ^ Formerly Parapavo californica and initially described as Pavo californica or "California peacock"
  16. ^ Broughton, Jack (1999). Resource depression and intensification during the late Holocene, San Francisco Bay: evidence from the Emeryville Shellmound vertebrate fauna. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-09828-2.; lay summary
  17. ^ Bochenski, Z. M., and K. E. Campbell, Jr. (2006). The extinct California Turkey, Meleagris californica, from Rancho La Brea: Comparative osteology and systematics. Contributions in Science, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Number 509.
  18. ^ Jan, K.; Andreas, M.; Gennady, C.; Andrej, K.; Gerald, M.; Jürgen, B.; Jürgen, S. (2007). "Waves of genomic hitchhikers shed light on the evolution of gamebirds (Aves: Galliformes)". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 7: 190. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-190. PMC 2169234. PMID 17925025. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  19. ^ Dalloul, R. A.; Long, J. A.; Zimin, A. V.; Aslam, L.; Beal, K.; Blomberg Le, L.; Bouffard, P.; Burt, D. W.; Crasta, O.; Crooijmans, R. P.; Cooper, K.; Coulombe, R. A.; De, S.; Delany, M. E.; Dodgson, J. B.; Dong, J. J.; Evans, C.; Frederickson, K. M.; Flicek, P.; Florea, L.; Folkerts, O.; Groenen, M. A.; Harkins, T. T.; Herrero, J.; Hoffmann, S.; Megens, H. J.; Jiang, A.; De Jong, P.; Kaiser, P.; Kim, H. (2010). Roberts, Richard J (ed.). "Multi-Platform Next-Generation Sequencing of the Domestic Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo): Genome Assembly and Analysis". PLoS Biology. 8 (9): e1000475. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000475. PMC 2935454. PMID 20838655.
  20. ^ a b "Native Americans First Tamed Turkeys 2,000 Years Ago". Seeker (Discovery News). Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Amazing Facts About Turkey". OneKind. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  22. ^ "My Life as a Turkey - Domesticated versus Wild Graphic". PBS. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Why do we eat turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas?". Slate. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?". Wonderopolis. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  25. ^ a b Nevill, Lady Dorothy (1894). Mannington and the Walpoles, Earls of Orford. With ten illustrations of Mannington Hall, Norfolk (PDF). Reference to the Sinecure and to the Turkeys. Fine Art Society. p. 22.

External links


A capitonym is a word that changes its meaning (and sometimes pronunciation) when it is capitalized; the capitalization usually applies due to one form being a proper noun or eponym. It is a portmanteau of the word capital with the suffix -onym. A capitonym is a form of homograph and – when the two forms are pronounced differently – is also a form of heteronym. In situations where both words should be capitalized (such as the beginning of a sentence), there will be nothing to distinguish between them except the context in which they are used.

Although some pairs, such as march and March, are completely unrelated, in other cases, such as august and catholic, the capitalized form is a name that is etymologically related to the uncapitalized form. For example, August derives from the name of Imperator Augustus, who named himself after the word augustus, whence English august came. Likewise, both Catholic and catholic derive from a Greek adjective meaning "universal".

Capital letters may be used to differentiate between a set of objects, and a particular example of that object. For instance in astronomical terminology a distinction may be drawn between a moon, any natural satellite, and the Moon, the natural satellite of Earth.

Comparison of Standard Malay and Indonesian

Malaysian and Indonesian are two standardised registers of the Malay language, used in Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively. Both varieties are generally mutually intelligible, yet there are noticeable differences in spelling, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as the predominant source of loanwords. The differences can range from those mutually unintelligible with one another, to those having a closer familial resemblance. The regionalised and localised varieties of Malay can become a catalyst for intercultural conflict, especially in higher education.


Doğubayazıt is a district of Ağrı Province of Turkey, and it is the easternmost district of Turkey, bordering Iran. Its elevation is 1625m and its area is 2,383 km². Doğubayazıt's population in 2010 was 115,354 (up from 73,794 in 1980) of which 69,447 live in the town of Doğubayazıt, the remainder in the surrounding countryside.

The town of Doğubayazıt is a settlement with a long history. It lies 15 km southwest of Mount Ararat, 93 km east of the city of Ağrı and 35 km from the Iranian border. The town stands on a plain surrounded by some of Turkey's highest peaks including: Ararat (5,137m), Little Ararat (3,896m), Tendürek Dağı (3,533m), Kaletepe (3,196m) Arıdağı (2,934m) and Göllertepe (2,643m).

The climate on the plain is hot and dry in summer, cold and dry in winter.

Foster Farms

Foster Farms is a United States West Coast poultry company. The company has been privately owned and operated by the Foster family since 1939. The company is based in Livingston, California, with operations throughout the West Coast and a few on the East Coast. The company specializes in a variety of chicken and turkey (bird) products advertised as fresh and naturally locally grown.


Hematopoietic SH2 Domain Containing (HSH2D) protein is a protein encoded by the hematopoietic SH2 domain containing (HSH2D) gene.

History of Turkey (disambiguation)

The History of Turkey is the history of lands called Turkey after Turkish migration.

The History of Turkey may also refer to:

Seljuk Turks (1000–1300) Sultanate of Rûm

Anatolian beyliks (11th-17th centuries)

Ottoman Empire (1299–1922)

History of the Republic of Turkey (since 1923)

History of Anatolia

Names of Anatolia

Turkey (bird)#History and naming

List of birds of Turkey

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Turkey. The avifauna of Turkey include a total of 482 species, of which four have been introduced by humans and 78 species are rare/accidental. Fourteen species are globally threatened.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Turkey.

The latest addition to this list was the black-throated accentor (Prunella atrogularis).

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Turkey

(E) Endangered - a species that is endangered in Turkey

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Turkey as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

(Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Turkey although populations exist elsewhere

(X) Extinct - a species or subspecies that no longer exists

Moons Milk (In Four Phases) Bonus Disc

Moons Milk (In Four Phases) Bonus Disc is a semi-official name for an edition of Coil CD-Rs released in conjunction with Moon's Milk (In Four Phases).

Mount Taylor (New Mexico)

Mount Taylor (Navajo: Tsoodził) is an inactive stratovolcano in northwest New Mexico, northeast of the town of Grants. It is the high point of the San Mateo Mountains and the highest point in the Cibola National Forest. It was named in 1849 for then president Zachary Taylor. Prior to that, it was called Cebolleta (tender onion) by the Spanish; the name persists as one name for the northern portion of the San Mateo Mountains, a large mesa. Mount Taylor is largely forested, rising like a blue cone above the desert below. Its slopes were an important source of lumber for neighboring pueblos.

Mount Taylor is the cone in a larger volcanic field, including Mesa Chivato. The Mount Taylor volcanic field is composed primarily of basalt (with 80% by volume) and straddles the extensional transition zone between the Colorado Plateau and the Rio Grande rift. The largest volcanic plug in the volcanic field is Cabezon Peak, which rises nearly 2,000 feet above the surrounding plain.

According to Robert Julyan's The Place Names of New Mexico, the Navajos identify Cabezon Peak "as the head of a giant killed by the Twin War Gods" with the lava flow to the south of Grants believed to be the congealed blood of the giant.

Reconquista (Mexico)

The Reconquista ("reconquest") is a term that is used (not exclusively) to describe the vision by different individuals, groups, and/or nations that the Southwestern United States should be politically or culturally reconquered by Mexico. These opinions are often formed on the basis that those territories had been claimed by Spain for centuries and had been claimed by Mexico from 1821 until being ceded to the United States in the Texas annexation (1845) and the Mexican Cession (1848), as a consequence of the Mexican–American War.

Snood (anatomy)

In anatomical terms, the snood is an erectile, fleshy protuberance on the forehead of turkeys. Most of the time when the turkey is in a relaxed state, the snood is pale and 2-3 cm long. However, when the male begins strutting (the courtship display), the snood engorges with blood, becomes redder and elongates several centimetres, hanging well below the beak (see image).Snoods are just one of the caruncles (small, fleshy excrescences) that can be found on turkeys.

While fighting, commercial turkeys often peck and pull at the snood, causing damage and bleeding. This often leads to further injurious pecking by other turkeys and sometimes results in cannibalism. To prevent this, some farmers cut off the snood when the chick is young, a process known as desnooding.

Wild turkey

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an upland ground bird native to North America and is the heaviest member of the diverse Galliformes. It is the same species as the domestic turkey, which was originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey (not the related ocellated turkey). Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain. The British at the time therefore associated the wild turkey with the country Turkey and the name prevails.

Birds (class: Aves)
Fossil birds
Human interaction

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.