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Wild Turkey - Hen

Wild Turkey - Hen

Ruthanne Reid

Common Name: Wild Turkey, Common Turkey
Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo

A female turkey is called a hen, and she is quite different from her flamboyant male counterpart in this dimorphic species. Females do the majority of incubation and caring for young chicks, and their plumage is much more camouflaged to help provide better security while on the nest or tending youngsters. Female turkeys lack the large tail and are much less iridescent than males, and while they do have wattles, a female turkey’s wattles are smaller and less colorful than a male’s. Most females also lack the chest beard, but about 10-15 percent of older hens will develop this feature. In general, hens are also much smaller than toms.

Photo © Ruthanne Reid

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