FaunaFocus: Ocellated Turkey

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 1

The ocellated turkey is one of only 2 species of turkey in the world.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 2

Less is known about the ocellated turkey than any other turkey species or subspecies.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 3

Ocellated turkeys are significantly smaller than all other turkeys.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 4

The spots on the ocellated turkey’s tail helped give it its name, as the Latin word for “eye” is “oculus”.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 5

The head of the male ocellated turkey has a fleshy blue crown adorned with yellow-orange nodules which enlarge during breeding season.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 6

The ocellated turkey only exists in a 50,000 square mile area.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 7

Legs of adult male ocellated turkeys have pronounced spurs.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 8

An ocellated turkey’s tail spots are similar to a peacock’s, causing scientists to once believe it was more related to peafowl.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 9

On rare ocassions, female ocellated turkeys have been spotted with spurs.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 10

The ocellated turkey’s Mayan Indian name is “ucutz il chican”.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 11

There appears to be a good correlation of ocellated turkey spur length with age.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 12

The strutting display of ocellated turkeys is referred to as “dancing” by the people of Central America.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 13

Large scale timbering operations followed by slash and burn agriculture are one of the ocellated turkey’s primary threats.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 14

Much more information is needed regarding the ecology of the ocellated turkey.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 15

Approximately 70% of ocellated turkey hens and 13% of poults survive the nesting and brood-rearing period.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 16

Ocellated turkey predators include gray fox, ocelot, margay, raccoon, coati, jaguarundi, tira, cougar, jaguar, birds, & snakes.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 17

Ocellated hens lay an average of 12 eggs, with an average of 6 poults hatching per hen.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 18

Ocellated turkeys can be found in arid brushlands, savanna, marshland, forests, mature rain forests, and abandoned farmland.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 19

Ocellated turkeys are not nearly as vocal as the other species and subspecies of turkey.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 20

Nesting season is the only time when ocellated turkeys are associated with heavily vegetated areas, called “bajos”.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 21

The ocellated turkey’s vocalization has been written phonetically as “whump-whump-whump—pum-pum-pum-peedle-glunk.”

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 22

Ocellated turkeys were valued for Mayan ceremonial banquets and are still eaten by locals today.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 23

Few ocellated turkeys have been bred in captivity successfully.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 24

The ocellated turkey was never domesticated as the wild turkey.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 25

Ocellated turkey chicks are bright yellow underneath and have black down with yellow tips on their backs and wing stubs.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 26

The ocellated turkey is Near Threatened as it has a small declining population due to hunting pressure and habitat loss.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 27

Ocellated turkeys are excellent eating and are heavily hunted for food, trade, and occasionally sport, even within reserves.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 28

There was speculation that chicken-born diseases were introduced into the ocellated turkey population by domestic poultry.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 29

The ocellated turkey is omnivorous and feeds on grass, seeds, leaves, fruits, succulent vegetables, insects, and corn.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 30

Ocellated turkeys lack the chest tuft and wattles of the North American species and their heads are blue instead of red.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 31

Both sexes of ocellated turkeys have nodules, but they’re more pronounced on males.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 32

Leg lengths of the ocellated turkey differ between sexes.

Ocellated Turkey FaunaFact 33

It may be possible to age male ocellated turkeys based on the width of the copper band on their wings.

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