Wild turkeys are large, ground-dwelling birds with long legs, long necks and large fan-shaped tails. They have short, rounded wings. Male wild turkeys have dark, iridescent plumage. Their flight feathers are black with brown stripes and are barred with white. They have a red wattle (a fleshy lobe that hangs down from the chin or throat), a caruncle (a wart-like projection of skin attached to the upper part of the forehead), and a blackish breast tuft. Their pink, pinkish-gray, or silver-gray legs have spurs which can grow as long as 3.2 cm. The heads of adult males (called gobblers) are red, blue, or white depending on the season.
Female wild turkeys (called hens) are smaller and duller than males. Most females do not have a breast tuft. Females have a grayish head and a feathered neck.
Male turkeys weigh 6.8 to 11 kg. Hens usually weigh 3.6 to 5.4 kg. Weight varies considerably with time of year and resource availability.
There are six subspecies of Meleagris gallopavo. These subspecies differ in size, plumage and distribution. (Eaton, 1992)
Other Physical Features: Endothermic; Bilateral symmetry; Polymorphic
Sexual Dimorphism: Male larger; Sexes colored or patterned differently; Male more colorful; Ornamentation