The domestic turkey is a large bird and descendent of the Wild Turkey native to the forests of North America. Males have a distinctive fleshy wattle called a caruncle on the throat and a snood that hangs over their beak, this can change colour from grey to striking shades of red, white, and blue when the bird becomes distressed or excited. During courtship or when the turkey is upset the caruncle turns bright red. The male (called a tom or gobbler) is larger and much more colourful than the female (called a hen).
Peacocks aren’t the only birds who use their fancy tails to attract a mate. Each spring male turkeys try to befriend as many females as possible. Male turkeys puff up their bodies and spread their tail feathers (just like a peacock). They grunt, make a “gobble gobble sound” and strut about shaking their feathers. This fancy turkey trot helps the male attract females for mating.
After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush and incubates up to 18 eggs. It takes about a month for the chicks to hatch. When the babies (called poults) hatch they flock with their mother all year. For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. The mother roosts on the ground with them during this time.