Turkeys are a North American bird in the genus Meleagris. Two species of turkey exist, one native to Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula and one native to the United States. Five subspecies of turkeys can be found in North America, each with slightly different physical characteristics.
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These large, fat birds are a common food in households throughout North America. They are also a popular source of protein in other parts of the world. Everywhere turkeys live, they are usually found in groups.
These groups of turkeys are commonly referred to as Rafters.
Groups of turkeys likely acquired the name rafters because they are sometimes found roosting in the rafters of barns or other outbuildings.
Other collective nouns for turkeys include:
- Death Row
Turkeys are in the same order, Galliformes, as chickens, pheasants, grouse, brushturkeys, and other ground-dwelling bird species. They can fly short distances, often roosting in the branches of trees several feet above the ground.
What are Domesticated Turkeys Called?
Domesticated turkeys are usually raised in groups. Many of these groups can be large, especially on high-production farms primarily producing large quantities of turkey meat.
A group of domesticated turkeys is usually called a Rafter. Another common collective noun for domesticated turkeys is a Flock. Farmers may refer to their group of turkeys as a flock because they are a type of livestock.
Turkeys were first domesticated by the indigenous peoples of Mexico before European colonization. After colonization, Europeans exported these turkeys across the Atlantic. Since then, domesticated turkeys have spread around the world.
The United States is one of the top producers of domesticated turkeys in the world. In addition, countries like Brazil, Germany, France, Poland, and Italy also produce much of the world’s turkey meat.
What is a Group of Wild Turkeys Called?
Wild turkeys have a conservation status of Least Concern. Because turkeys are a game species, Fish and Game agencies strictly control their populations throughout their range. These agencies determine the season for turkey hunting and the number each hunter can take.
Turkeys in the wild are usually found in forests, fields, and forest edges.
Like domesticated turkeys, groups of wild turkeys are most commonly referred to as a Rafter. Another collective noun for wild turkeys is Posse.
Flocks of wild turkeys forage together through forests and fields, eating plants, fruits, berries, nuts, and even small vertebrates. Turkeys eat a diet high in fat that they store up during the growing season.
Do Turkeys Migrate?
Turkeys do not migrate. Throughout their range, turkeys have adapted to cold, snowy weather, especially in the north. Their diet consists of berries, acorns, and other plants they can forage. Turkeys can lose up to forty percent of their body weight over winter without starving.
What is a Group of Male Turkeys Called?
Turkeys, like many bird species, display sexual dimorphism. Male turkeys are usually larger than females and have dark tips on their feathers.
Young male turkeys are often referred to as Jakes, while older males are Toms. A group of male turkeys is sometimes called a Run or Bachelor group.
When a male turkey is trying to attract the attention of a female turkey during the breeding season, it can change the color of its head. By pushing more blood into the tissues of the head, males can change the color from pale gray to red.
What is a Pair of Turkeys Called?
Male and female turkeys only pair up briefly during the breeding season in early spring and do not have a specific name. Male turkeys breed with several females during the short mating season and often compete aggressively for dominance to mate with the most females.
Once the breeding season ends after a few weeks, male turkeys separate from the females and form smaller groups. Females leave their flocks and raise their young alone during the summer and fall.
What is a Group of Female Turkeys Called?
Unlike males, female turkeys have brown tips on their feathers. Adult females are usually called Hens. Juvenile female turkeys are called Jennies. A group of female turkeys is called a Rafter, just like mixed-gender flocks of turkeys.
Female turkeys flock together in single-gender groups during part of the year. Once the mating season ends, individual females separate and find a hidden place in dense brush to lay eggs where they can see potential predators before predators see them.
What is a Group of Baby Turkeys Called?
Female turkeys scratch out nests on the ground in the spring and produce an average of ten chicks in their brood. The mother turkey sits on the nest almost continuously and incubates the eggs for approximately one month.
Once the eggs hatch, the new turkey chicks are almost immediately ready to explore outside the nest.
These chicks are called Poults. Groups of baby turkeys, or poults, are called rafters.
These babies stay with the mother throughout the summer and fall until they are fully grown.
Do Turkeys Flock Together in Groups?
Turkeys flock together in small groups throughout the year, feeding and roosting in separate, gendered flocks. During the mating season, males and females form large groups for a few weeks to find potential mates.
Flocks of turkeys have developed a bad reputation with farmers. Many farmers believe that turkeys forage through their corn and soybean fields in a way that destroys their crops. In reality, turkeys do not cause much damage and simply forage on the damage caused by other animals.