Rio Grande Wild Turkey

Rio Grande Wild Turkey
Common Name: Rio Grande Wild Turkey
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Meleagris
Species: Meleagris gallopavo
Subspecies: Meleagris gallopavo intermedia

The Rio Grande Wild Turkey is similar in size to the Osceola (Florida) Wild Turkey > but tend to have longer legs giving them the same height as the Eastern Wild Turkey. Adult male turkeys, also known as a gobbler or tom, average 4 feet (122 cm) in height and weigh up to 20 pounds (9 kg), but have been known to weigh as much as 25 pounds (11 kg). Juvenile male turkeys, also known as jakes, will typically be the same height, but may weigh a third less than a mature male. Rio Grande Wild Turkeys are characterized by having the tips of their tail and covert feathers yellowish or tan in color. Rio Grande Turkeys tend to be lighter than the Eastern and Osceola (Florida) turkeys, but usually darker than the Merriam’s Turkey. Their body feathers are an iridescence of copper, bronze and sometimes have a greenish sheen. Female turkeys, also known as hens, can be the same height as males, but typically weigh 9 – 14 pounds (4 – 6 kg).
Rio Grande Wild Turkey - Left Foot Print
Left Foot Print
Rio Grande Wild Turkey - Right Foot Print
Right Foot Print
Rio Grande Wild Turkey Distribution/Habitat

Rio Grande Wild Turkey - Distribution

The Rio Grande Wild Turkey is located in the mid to southern Great Plains, from southern Texas, north into Oklahoma, Kansas and southern Nebraska. The Rio Grande Wild Turkey has also been introduced into central and western California, western Oregon, and parts of Washington. In the late 1950s, they were also introduced into several of the Hawaiian Islands. The habitats of the Rio Grande are primarily near streams and river bottoms, but are also common in mesquite, pine and scrub oak forests.

Rio Grander Wild Turkey Diet

Merriam's Wild Turkey - Jake
Credit: Kevin Cole

Rio Grande Wild Turkeys have a wide variety of foods in their diet ranging from chokecherries, bearberries, ponderosa pine seeds, and grains like corn, oats and wheat. They also enjoy eating insects such as grasshoppers, spiders and beetles. While their range is not as widely spread as the Eastern Wild Turkey, the Rio Grande Wild Turkey’s diet can be very broad, as there are plants that are indigenous to certain areas of the country.

Rio Grande Wild Turkey Reproduction

Rio Grande Wild Turkey - Egg Nest

Rio Grande Wild Turkeys lay their eggs from late-March to early-April depending on their geographic location and typically lay an average of 10 – 12 eggs. This process can take about 2 weeks, as turkeys will usually only lay one egg a day. During the incubation period of 26 – 28 days, the hen will move the eggs periodically throughout the day. Once the incubation period has passed, the eggs may hatch within a 24-hour period of one another. The hen and her newly hatched turkeys (also called poults) will leave the nest within 12 – 24 hours of being hatched in search of food.


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