Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Turkey (domesticated)
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Turkey (domesticated)

  
Domesticated Turkey

Large White Turkey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Meleagrididae
Genus: Meleagris
Species
 Meleagris gallopavo
 Meleagris ocellata
The domesticated turkey is descended from the North American Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. Suggestions have been made that the Mexican Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) might also be involved, but the plumage of domestic turkeys does not support this theory; in particular, the chest tuft of domestic turkeys is a clear indicator of descent from the Wild Turkey (the Ocellated Turkey does not have this tuft).

The turkey is reared throughout temperate parts of the World, and is a popular form of poultry because industrialised farming has made it very cheap for the amount of meat, and it is considered healthier and less fattening than red meat.

Eating turkey was once mainly restricted to special occasions like Christmas in Europe, and Thanksgiving in North America, in both cases having displaced the traditional goose, but it is now available year-round in supermarkets.

In the USA, the female domesticated turkey is referred to as a hen, a male as a tom, a chick as a poult and a castrated turkey as a hokie. In Europe, the male is a stag.

Modern breeds of turkey are too large to breed naturally, so they are usually bred using artificial insemination. However, turkey hens are often able to produce young from unfertilized eggs in a process called parthenogenesis.

The great majority of domesticated turkeys have white feathers, although brown or bronze-feathered varieties are also raised.

See also: turkey (bird), turkey (food)

More images of domesticated turkeys: