The Visionary Turkey: 

The ocellated turkey exists only in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatan Peninsula range includes the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan.

The ocellated turkey is easily distinguished from its North American cousin in appearance. The body feathers of both male and female birds have a bronze-green iridescent color mixture, although females sometimes appear duller in color with more green than bronze pigments. Unlike North American turkeys, breast feathers of male and female ocellated turkeys do not differ and cannot be used to determine sex. Neither male nor female birds have a beard. source

 Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata)

….the only other species of extant turkey alive today (Australian brush turkeys are not “true” turkeys or closely related). Ocellated turkeys occur in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and parts of Belize and Guatemala. They typically inhabit tropical deciduous and lowland evergreen forests, they are also found in seasonally flooded habitat and open areas, especially during the breeding season. During the breeding season (in spring), ocellated turkeys are often seen in clearings where males will gobble and strut to attract females. Breeding will take place from late March to mid-April and around 12 eggs are typically laid.

Like their North American cousin M. ocellata is a generalist and will eat a wide variety of plant materials, insects, nuts, berries and seeds. However, chicks will feed solely on insects for their fist month. Ocellated turkeys are similar in appearance to M. gallopavo but they differ in that they have a striking iridescent green color and they lack the ‘beard’ found in wild turkeys. They are also significant smaller than their northern cousins. True to their common name their tail feathers possess ocelli (eyespots) like those found on peafowl.

Currently Meleagris ocellata is listed as Near Threatened and faces threats due to hunting and habitat destruction. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Galliformes-Meleargrididae-Meleagris-M. ocellata

Images: Jim MCormac and Chris Chafer

Everyone can tell you what a turkey looks like, they have become ubiquitous symbols of the Thanksgiving season and can be found in any number of forms. Most people don’t know that there is another species of turkey, Meleagris ocellata, the Ocellated Turkey that is found in Guatemala. This is really a beautiful bird and I would love to have a few of these as lawn ornaments some day.

(Image from Treknature.com)

(via Ocellated Turkey | Flickr - Photo Sharing!)

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I thought I’d do a post on the lesser-known Turkey of the world!

The ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) is a species of turkey residing primarily in the Yucatán Peninsula. A relative of the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), it was sometimes previously treated in a genus of its own (Agriocharis), but the differences between the two turkeys are currently considered too small to justify generic segregation. It is a relatively large bird, at around 70–122 cm (28–48 in) long and an average weight of 3 kg (6.6 lb) in females and 5 kg (11 lb) in males.

Turkeys spend most of the time on the ground and often prefer to run to escape danger through the day rather than fly, though they can fly swiftly and powerfully for short distances as the majority of birds in this order do in necessity. Roosting is usually high in trees away from night-hunting predators such as jaguars and usually in a family group.

The voice is similar to the northern species: the male making the “gobbling” sound during the breeding season, while the female bird makes a “clucking” sound.

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Ocellated Turkey on Flickr.

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Ocellated Turkey

The ocellated turkey lives only in a 50,000 sq mile range in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The body feathers of both sexes are a mixture of bronze and green iridescent color. Neither sex possesses the beard typically found in wild turkeys. Tail feathers of both sexes are bluish-grey with an eye-shaped, blue-bronze spot near the end with a bright gold tip. The spots, or ocelli (located on the tail), for which the ocellated turkey is named, have been likened to the patterning typically found on peafowl. The upper, major secondary wing coverts are rich iridescent copper. The primary and secondary wing feathers have similar barring to that of North American turkeys.

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