Ocellated Turkey

Want some information on the Ocellated Turkey? Read ahead to find out how the ocellated turkeys are related to the common wild turkeys...

The Ocellated Turkey has a biological classification of Meleagris ocellata and is one of the species of turkey that is endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula. It is part of the same species as the common wild turkey and was initially treated as an independent genus.

Firhter study of this turkey discovered that there were only marginal differences between the wild turkey and the ocellated turkey and therefore the genus was combined.
This turkey resides in the Mexican region of the Yucatan Peninsula and is endemic to a 50,000 mi.² area of this region. The provinces and sovereign states that fall into this region include Campeche, Tabasco, the northeastern parts of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, the northern parts of Belize as well as Yucatan and Guatemala.

Specifications of the Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey is a fairly large bird with an average length of 28 to 48 inches. Females can weigh up to 6.6 pounds whereas the males can weigh up to 11 pounds.

The plumage of both genders is iridescent and has a glow with a shiny bronze and green color. The plumage of the females is comparatively dull and interestingly enough the feathers on the breast of the oscellated turkeys cannot be used to determine the gender of the bird and neither of them have beards on their chests.

The gender can also not be determined from the tail feathers because both of them have similar feathers which are grayish blue in color and have a blue bronze spot in the shape of an eye right near the end of the feather which ends in a golden tip.

These spots which have given the oscellated turkey its name have led some scientists to postulate a connection between this turkey and a peafowl rather than the wild turkey.

The ocellated turkey has a blue head that sometimes may be covered in red or orange nodules. These are more prominent in the male gender along with a fleshy blue crown. This generally swells up during the breeding season and the yellowish orange color of the nodes becomes very prominent. The eyes of this turkey are surrounded by bright red skin which also becomes very prominent during breeding season in the males. The legs of the ocellated turkey are a dark red and short when compared to the wild turkey legs. Spurs are evident in males who are older than a year and grow up to an average of 1.5 inches.

These are much longer and narrower than the wild turkey’s spurs. When compared to the wild turkeys, the ocellated Turkey generally puts on 2 to 3 pounds when it is about to lay eggs and that the rest of the year it ranges between 6-7 pounds in weight.

These birds are extremely territorial and in order to escape any predator they prefer to run rather than fly away. Of course they can fly very powerfully for short distances as required. They usually reside in a group with their family and prefer to place their roosts in high trees away from night predators.

The clutch of the ocellated turkey generally includes 8-15 eggs which are laid in a well-secured nest on the ground and are incubated for 28 days. It is interesting to note that the young turkeys which hatch leave the nest after one night and follow the mother until they are young adults.

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