Snoods, Caruncles, Wattles and Spurs

turkeyThe male wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) weighs in as one of the largest birds in North America at around 20 lbs (by comparison, many domestic turkeys weigh twice as much). Females are roughly half the size of the male.

The heads of male wild turkeys are featherless and colorful, with odd sounding structures such as the snood, caruncles, and wattle. Their head can even change color depending on their mood (blue means “Hey, good lookin’!”; red means “I’m ticked off!). The “beard” of the wild turkey grows from the chest and is comprised of filamentous feathers. Males also grow spike-like spurs on their legs, used for fighting.