Wild Turkey

6 Birds That Look Like Turkeys (Photos, ID & Stats)

The wild turkey is a large bird that has been around for centuries. There are many bird species with features that closely resemble those of the turkey, and distinguishing between them can be difficult without expert knowledge. So I have compiled a list of 6 birds that resemble the turkey with pictures and information showing the differences between them.

Ruffed Grouse

The wild turkey is a bird of the order Galliformes, and the ruffed grouse is a game bird. One can be found in North America while the other can be found on continents across the world. They are both members of their respective orders and as such they have some similarities but also differences. 

The most noticeable difference is size, with the turkey being much larger than the ruffed grouse.  Ruffed Grouse average 1.5 feet long and 1.2 lbs. whereas the turkey is 2.5-4.0 ft. long and weighs 5 to 24 pounds.

This is mainly due to their habitat, as turkeys live in a forest while ruffed grouse prefer living on open land. The color of these two birds also differs, with the ruffed grouse usually being gray or brown and the turkey being black or white with an iridescent sheen.

Sooty Grouse

The Sooty Grouse is a small bird that can be found in the boreal forests of North America. They are often mistaken for Wild Turkeys due to their similar size and plumage coloration, but they are quite different in many ways.

One major difference between these two birds is that the Sooty Grouse are distinctly smaller than the Turkey averaging 1.3-1.7 feet long and weighing just 1.6-2.9 lbs whereas the turkey is 2.5-4.0 ft long and weighs 5 to 24 pounds.

Unlike the Turkey, the Sooty Grouse have shorter legs and tail, more pronounced upright stance with deep reddish-brown plumage instead of black or white feathers with an iridescent sheen that is seen on the Wild Turkey.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant
Image by Jim Black from Pixabay

There are many similarities between the Ring-necked Pheasant and Wild Turkey. They both have iridescent plumage, and they both are found in North America.

However, there are also some major differences between these two birds. The most obvious difference is that the Ring-necked Pheasants are smaller than the Wild Turkey, averaging 1.9-3.0 feet long and weighing just 2.0-2.6 lbs., whereas the turkey is 2.5-4.0 ft long and weighs 5 to 24 pounds (the average weight being 18 pounds). 

The Ring-necked Pheasant has an iridescent copper colored plumage with a red face, green neck with a thick white ring around it and the Wild Turkey has a black or white iridescent plumage.

Dusky Grouse

The Dusky Grouse is a bird found in the North American regions of Alaska, Canada, and some areas of the United States. They are known for their secretive behavior but can be seen when they emerge from their dens during winter.

The Dusky Grouse looks very similar to the Wild Turkey but there are some key differences between them. Dusky grouse have more prominent feathers on their head than wild turkeys with no iridescence.

The Dusky Grouse is a lot smaller than the Wild Turkey averaging 1.4-1.9 feet tall and weighing just 2.5-2.8 lbs., whereas the turkey is 2.5-4.0 ft long and weighs 5 to 24 pounds, with plumage of a patterned brownish-gray, white, and black in comparison to the Turkey being black or white with an iridescent sheen. 

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl
Image by ADGC from Pixabay

There are many differences between Guinea Fowl and Turkeys. They may be closely related, but they differ in a number of ways. Guinea fowls have black feathers with iridescent green or purple plumage and long legs while wild turkeys have reddish-brown iridescent feathers.

Guinea fowl are smaller than turkeys and have a shorter legs and tail. Guinea fowl are found in Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and South America while wild turkeys can be found only in North America.

Turkeys are also found in the wild, while Guinea Fowl typically live on farms or in captivity. Turkeys generally roam across much larger areas than Guinea Fowl, as they can fly long distances to find food sources.

Turkeys will often spend their days foraging for seeds and insects while guinea fowl will roost during the day then come out at night to look for any remaining food sources.

Black Grouse 

Black Grouse
Image by Jayne Simmons from Pixabay

The Black Grouse is a bird that belongs to the grouse family, and it’s native to the Northern Hemisphere. The Wild Turkey is a large ground-dwelling bird native to North America, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

The plumage of the Black Grouse is mostly black with dark blue tones on the neck and back in comparison to the Wild Turkey being iridescent black or white.

The black grouse is smaller than the turkey averaging 1.25-1.65 feet long and weighing just 2.4-2.8 lbs., whereas the turkey is 2.5-4.0 ft long and weighs 5 to 24 pounds, which makes it a much more formidable prey for predators like coyotes or bobcats. 

How can you tell a male from a female wild turkey?

Wild turkeys are a type of bird that can be found in North America. Male and female turkeys look very similar to one another, but there are some differences between the two sexes.

Male turkeys have a rounder, more bulbous head with no feathers, while females have a pointed, narrower head with feathers. Males also typically weigh about 25% more than females and can be identified by an enlarged snood or wattle at the base of their neck. 

Male and female wild turkeys are also easily identifiable by their colors. The male turkey is typically brown, while the female is less showy, and is white with brown stripes. Male turkeys also have a beard, which hangs from their chin down to their chest; females do not have beards.

The males have an average weight of 18 pounds, with a wingspan that is 4.5 feet wide and 3-4 inch long spurs on their legs. The females have an average weight of 11 pounds, with a wingspan that is 5 feet wide and 1-2 inch long spurs on their legs.