By Gary Bogue
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 7:50 am in wild turkeys.
Several years ago we had a turkey who frequented our neighborhood and yard in Livermore. This year it has turned into two birds. They seem to eat bugs and seed from the bird feeder and occasionally we will treat them with a handful of peanuts. The plumage on the two birds is different; that of one being more solid in color and the other having almost a zebra like striping. Is the solid colored one an immature male or are they both females? I have enclosed some photos.
Lloyd Hackel, Livermore, California
The wild turkey pictured above appears to be a male, and the one below is a female. They are probably a pair. There tends to be a lot of individual variation among these birds … but the males are usually more colorful than the drab females. Male heads are also brightly colored and have few feathers, while female heads are more of a drab blue/gray with some feathering. It all gets really obvious, of course, when the wild turkey males start to display! /Gary