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Wild turkeys come in many colors

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 7:50 am in wild turkeys.

Male wild turkey. Photo by Lloyd Hackel, Livermore, CA1wild turkey male lloyd hackel livermore

Gary:
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

Lloyd:
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

Female wild turkey. Photo by Lloyd Hackel, Livermore, CA
1wild turkey female lloyd hackel livermore

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2 Responses to “Wild turkeys come in many colors”

  1. Karen Says:

    I used to drive up Mt. Hamilton Rd. east of San Jose a lot, and I quickly learned to creep around one particular curve, because there was a turkey crossing there. Often there’d be five or six birds strolling stately across the road. Cars? They didn’t worry about no stinkin’ cars — cars would stop for them.

  2. Linda Brown Says:

    There is a wild turkey that got into my fenced in hillside backyard, but does not seem to know how to get out. What do I do to get it to remember how to fly out?

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