The turkey is a rather large, groundfeeding bird that is native only to North America. There are two varieties. The eastern wild turkey, also called the common turkey, had a natural range that covered the southern portion of Canada to northern Mexico. The second turkey is called the ocellated turkey of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The eastern turkey had a much greater natural range, but because much of its natural cover has been destroyed over the years by human population growth, the range is now much smaller. In many cases, the eastern turkey has been wiped out of existence in numerous locales. The domestic turkey is economically important to many regions in America. The turkey is traditionally served on Thanksgiving all across the United States. The wild turkey has a rather dark plumage, and eats nuts, bugs, and other things it finds on the forest floor. It roosts in trees during the night. The wild turkey is very wily and is alert to all danger. The wild turkey male, or tom, is rather large for a bird that can fly with ease. He weighs about twenty pounds when full grown. The female is not as large but is just as alert. She will try to hatch out ten to fifteen eggs in her clutch every year. Turkeys tend to band together after the reproduction season is over, and they stay together until the following year. The domestic turkey does not come from the eastern variety but from the ocellated strain. The Native Americans of Mexico and Central America domesticated the bird sometime before Columbus discovered the region. Currently, there are several kinds of domesticated turkey used in agriculture, with the Giant White being the one chosen for human consumption. The domestic turkey has been bred to have huge breasts and other dominant portions. It grows rapidly but cannot reproduce by itself very easily, having become too large. Most turkey insemination is now done through artificial means.
Order: Galliformes (chicken, turkey, and pheasant)
Geographical location: turkeys are strictly a North American bird that is now well received as a domestic fowl
Habitat: turkeys are an American ground bird
Gestational period: Eighteen to thirty-two days, depending on the species
Life span: between three and six years
Special anatomy: Males are very colorful; females tend to be dull and drab-colored
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