|Conservation status||Numbers seriously depleted by beginning of 20th century, but has been reintroduced to most of former range and established in new areas. Still increasing in many regions, and is now adapting to edges of suburban habitat in many eastern states.|
|Family||Pheasants and Grouse|
|Habitat||Woods, mountain forests, wooded swamps. Habitats vary in different parts of continent, include oak-hickory forest, pine-oak forest, cypress swamps, arid mesquite grassland, pinyon-juniper woodland, chaparral. Usually found near some kind of oak (acorns are a favorite food). Best habitat includes a mixture of woodland and open clearings.|
Forages mostly by walking on ground. Often scratches in leaf litter to expose food items. Sometimes climbs in shrubs or trees to eat berries. May forage most actively in early morning and evening.
Usually 10-15, sometimes 4-18, rarely more. White to pale buff, dotted with reddish brown. Sometimes more than one female will lay eggs in one nest. Incubation is by female only, 25-31 days. Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Female tends young, and broods them at night for several weeks; young feed themselves. Young can make short flights at age of 1-2 weeks, but not full-grown for several months.
Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Female tends young, and broods them at night for several weeks; young feed themselves. Young can make short flights at age of 1-2 weeks, but not full-grown for several months.
Omnivorous. Diet varies with season but is mostly plant material, including many acorns, leaves, seeds, grains, berries, buds, grass blades, roots, bulbs. Also eats insects, spiders, snails. Sometimes eats frogs, lizards, snakes, salamanders, crabs.
In spring, male gives gobbling call to attract females. In courtship, males puff out feathers, raise and spread tail, swell up face wattles, droop wings; in this exaggerated posture they strut, rattling the wing feathers and making humming sounds. One male will mate with several females. Nest site is on ground, often at base of tree, under shrub, or in tall grass. Nest is shallow depression, sparsely lined with grass, leaves.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Not migratory, but may wander at some seasons, especially in fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsGobbling calls similar to those of domestic turkey.
Learn more about this sound collection.