Turkey Facts

TurkeysPhoto by Stephanie Jochum-Natt

Turkey Facts

TurkeysWhat does a wild turkey look like?
  • There are two species of wild turkey found in Utah, the Rio Grande and the Merriam’s wild turkey. The Merriam’s turkey is historically native to Utah, while the Rio Grande was introduced here in 1984.
  • Rios can be distinguished from Merriam’s by their feathers on their tails – the Rios have buff or tan tips, and the Merriam’s have white tips.
  • Wild turkeys are large birds with long, thick legs and wide rounded tails.
  • Their head is naked and small and sits at the end of a long, thin neck. The skin on their head and neck can be red, blue and grey.
  • Their color is mostly an iridescent bronze-green. Their wings are dark with white bars on them.
How big are they?
  • Male turkeys weigh between 17-2 and females between 8-10 pounds.
Where do they live?
  • Wild turkey can be found throughout Utah, from Box Elder Country in the north to Utah County in central Utah and San Juan and Iron counties in southern Utah.
What do they eat?
  • Turkeys eat vegetation, seeds and insects.
What eats them?
  • Coyotes, foxes, bobcats – anything that can catch them.
  • People also hunt wild turkey.

Did you know?


  • Male turkeys are called “toms” and females are called “hens”.
  • An average of 10 to 11 eggs is laid. They incubate for 28 days before hatching.
Threats to wild turkeys:
  • Feeding wild turkeys leads to conflicts between turkeys and people and can disrupt their natural foraging and migration patterns.