Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rio Grande Wild Turkey

I've come across a wild turkey distribution map that alters how I've been looking at turkey subspecies. The map is put out by the NWTF and gives detailed locations for the turkey subspecies.

Based on language descriptions of locations, I'd thought the turkeys I'd seen in Utah were Merriam's turkeys. However, according to the range map, they were actually Rio Grande wild turkeys. The Rio Grande subspecies distribution is in red. In 2009, outside Nephi, Utah, near Mt. Nebo, we saw many of them, perhaps 30 or 40, walking in a field not far off a local road. The Rio Grande turkey often has a green/coppery sheen and the tips of the tail and lower back are buff to very light tan. There is variability in the color, but the color is consistently lighter than the eastern or Florida turkeys and darker than the same feathers in the Merriam's or Gould's subspecies. It gets its name from the Rio Grande River.
Rio Grande turkeys near Mt. Nebo in central Utah. 
In December 2014 we visited Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas and while driving through found a rafter of Rio Grande wild turkeys. 
A head only a mother (or hungry person) would love.
Pretty in an ugly sort of way.
This female does not have the same waddle.
Ruffled feathers.
Group walk.
One last picture.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so its role at the national bird is a bit more convincing when you see one in its natural habitat as opposed to on a turkey farm.