Bird of the Week, November 25, 2011
Ocellated Turkey


 

Ocellated Turkey by Owen Deutsch

 

The Ocellated Turkey is a smaller, more colorful cousin of the American Wild Turkey. Both sexes have bluish-gray tails tipped with eye-shaped, blue-bronze-colored spots that give this bird its name (the Latin word for eye is oculus). Also notable are their blue heads and necks with distinctive, orange to red, warty growths. The head of the male also has a fleshy blue crown with yellow-orange growths similar to those on the neck.


This turkey is omnivorous and feeds on the ground in small groups; its diet consists mainly of seeds, berries, insects, and leaves. It nests on the ground, laying large clutches averaging 12 eggs.


The species is thought to be declining due to hunting for food and sport; habitat loss and degradation due to logging and slash and burn agriculture also pose significant threats.


ABC is working to preserve habitat in the Yucatn for this unique turkey and other resident and migrant birds in Mexico and Central America; see www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/international/mexicoyucatan.html for more information.


Happy Thanksgiving!

 


Photo by Owen Deutsch; Range Map, ABC