Wild Turkey | South Carolina Public Radio


"W" is for Wild Turkey. A wild turkey is a large galliforme, that is, chicken-like bird. Males weigh up to 20 pounds and females half as much. The turkey is characterized by its large size, iridescent plumage, and large fan-shaped tail. The head and neck are blue-gray with pink wattles and caruncles. Males and occasionally females have beards, which are brush-like clusters of keratinous fibers that hang from mid-breast. Before European settlement, wild turkeys were relatively abundant in eastern North America..During the 19th century, the eastern population was greatly reduced by hunting and habitat destruction. In South Carolina, the species mainly survived in coastal areas on large plantations where they were protected and managed as game. Through hunting regulations and the reintroduction of wild, caught birds, the population increased dramatically. Today, wild turkeys are found in suitable habitats throughout the state of South Carolina.