Turkey Facts: Wildly Different: Gould's Subspecies
National Wild Turkey Federation
fifth recognized, but least known, wild turkey subspecies is the Gould's
found in portions of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as northern Mexico.
It was first described by J. Gould in 1856 during his travels in Mexico.
the Merriam's, the Gould's is a bird of the mountains. It exists in very
small numbers along the U.S./Mexico borders in Arizona and New Mexico,
but is abundant in the northwestern portions of Mexico. The Arizona Game
and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, the Centro Ecologico de Sonora,
the National Wild Turkey Federation and other agencies are working cooperatively
to reintroduce a strong Gould's population into Arizona and eventually
other states where suitable range exists.
Gould's turkey is the largest of the 5 subspecies and resembles the Merriam's
turkey. They have longer legs, larger feet and larger center tail feathers
than any of the other wild turkey subspecies in North America. Gould's
differ by having distinctive white tips on the tail feathers and tail rump
coverts which usually separate to show an "eyelash" appearance. Lower back
and rump feathers have copper and greenish-golden reflections, not like
the faintly iridescent velvety black found on the Merriam's. Gould's body
plumage is said to be somewhat blue-green in coloration. Adult females
have a less pronounced metallic greenish and reddish sheen and are more
Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in Mexico are the center of the Gould's
turkey Mexican range, extending south from the U.S./Mexico border. Populations
exist in Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco
and Coahuila. In the United States, Gould's turkeys are found in the Animas
and San Luis mountains of New Mexico and in the Peloncillo Mountains of
New Mexico and Arizona.
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