Turkey (feral) Melagris gallopavo
Species: M. gallopavo
Binomial name: Meleagris gallopavo
Common names: Toms, Big Toms, Wild turkey, Feral turkey.
Meleagris gallopavo (wild turkey) is the heaviest member of the order of Galliformes (ground feeding birds). It is native to North America and is the same species as the domestic turkey. In New Zealand turkeys have been released into the wild from the 1860s to the present. In New Zealand they are found on rough farmland in the North Island and a few locations in the South Island. They are also present on some large farmed off shore islands.
A male bird can weigh up to 10kg and have predominantly black-brown plumage with iridescent sheen. The males long tail feathers are barred brown with a blackish-brown subterminal band and pale brown terminal band. The head of the males have blue and bright blue and red throat wattles.
Females birds are smaller, duller, lack wattles and have no leg spurs.
They are not good flyers and once air borne they tend to glide.
They usually feed in small flocks mainly on seeds, fruits and invertebrates. At night they roost on fence posts and in trees.
In New Zealand hunting of these birds occur any time from mid July through to mid November. The daily limit per hunter is three birds per day.
Male and female.
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