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Florida Boardwalk Animal Fact Sheet
Meleagris gallopavo osceola

Eastern and Southern United States and Mexico
Males have one spur on each leg, which is composed of an enlarged scale overlying a conical core of bone fused to the tarsometatarsus (a compound bone between the tibia and the toes of a bird's leg, formed by fusion of the tarsal and metatarsal bones). Adult males also have a "beard" on their chests. The beard is a patch of modified feathers in which the vanes are absent and only the shaft remains. Caruncle, wart-like swellings on the head, develop on the males during the breeding season as an adornment to attract females.

Turkeys, both adult and juvenile, are good swimmers and very strong fliers.

Males are polygamous, meaning they mate with several females. Each spring the male performs a courtship display to entice females. This involves spreading his tail feathers into a fan similar to that of a peacock, drooping and rattling his flight feathers and strutting.
Habitat: Prefers woodlands and open forests. Also nests in pine flatwoods with a dense cover of palmetto.
Diet: Seeds, berries and acorns, as well as some invertebrates and vertebrates, including worms, grasshoppers, lizards and snakes
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)











Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Males: 20 lbs. Females: 6-12 lbs.
Lifespan: 10- 13 years
Reproduction & Offspring:

The female lays her eggs in a leaf-lined scrape on the ground. The nest is well concealed and contains 8 to 15 cream-colored, brown-speckled eggs, laid approximately one day apart. The male plays no role in incubation or rearing the young. When the hen leaves her nest to feed, she covers her eggs with leaves or other debris to camouflage the nest. Incubation lasts 28 days and when the chicks hatch they are covered in down, their eyes are open and they are able to walk. During their first few days, the chicks imprint on the female and the sound of her calls. The chicks remain with their mother for about six months. At 12 to 15 days, the young are able to fly and begin roosting in trees. The female keeps the group together by frequent soft calls.


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