The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an upland ground bird native to North America, one of two extant species of turkey, and the heaviest member of the order Galliformes. It is the ancestor to the domestic turkey, which was originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey (not the related ocellated turkey). Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain. The British at the time therefore associated the wild turkey with the country Turkey and the name prevails. An alternative theory posits that another bird, a guinea fowl native to Madagascar introduced to England by Turkish merchants, was the original source, and that the term was then transferred to the New World bird by English colonizers with knowledge of the previous species.
Benjamin Franklin would have preferred to have the Wild Turkey, not the Bald Eagle, chosen as the national symbol of the United States. Although the barnyard variety is a rather stupid creature (leading to the insulting tone of the term 'turkey'), the original wild form is a wary and magnificent bird. Wild Turkeys usually get around by walking or running, but they can fly strongly, and they typically roost overnight in tall trees. Turkeys were formerly considered to belong to a separate family from other chicken-like birds; there are only two species, ours in North America and the Ocellated Turkey in Central America.
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future. Click on the source link below to view their map and data.
Domestic turkeys are the same genetic species as wild turkeys but are raised under controlled conditions on farms in order to provide meat. There are many types of turkey farms, from large-scale commercial operations to smaller free-range or organic facilities. Find out more at https://www.thespruce.com/pictures-of-wild-turkeys-4121970.