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Where Do Wild Turkeys Live in Nature (& in Which Countries)?

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Wild Turkey

Turkeys are a part of the same family as chickens, pheasants, peacocks, and quail. The family name is Galliformes, and turkeys happen to be the heaviest of all the family members. Common wild turkeys are indigenous to the United States and Mexico, where they flourish today, although that has not always been the case. In the early 1900s, they were all but extinct.

Thanks to preservation efforts, turkeys can now be found living in many states throughout the U.S. and the northern areas of Mexico. Ophthalmic turkeys can be found living in Mexico and Central American countries such as Guatemala. They typically do not live within cities like some wild birds do, but instead, they roam about various habitats that are less inhabited by humans. Here is where you can find wild turkeys.hummingbird divider

The Wild Turkey’s Habitat

Wild turkeys rely on trees for cover from the elements and possible predators. Therefore, they tend to live in forest and wooded habitats throughout the United States. They are not picky when it comes to the types of trees that they live around. They thrive near forests of pine, elm, and oak. They do not have to live near trees, though. Many wild turkeys enjoy living in grasslands and meadows too.

Sometimes, wild turkeys make urban communities their home and might be found roaming through fields looking for food or even crossing a low-traffic road. Some turkeys born in captivity get away from their homesteads and start living free lives. These turkeys then reproduce and create new wild turkeys that never know what it is like to live in captivity.

Wild Turkey Closeup
Image Credit: ladymacbeth, Pixabay

What States Have the Biggest Wild Turkey Population?

Countries like Guatemala and Belize are home to ophthalmic wild turkeys, but the common wild turkey is found mainly in northern Mexico and in many states throughout the U.S. The states with the biggest wild turkey populations include

Even Hawaii is home to wild turkeys that were originally brought over as farm animals but have evolved to live wild in the jungles and urban areas on the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai.

Two Wild Turkey
Image Credit: bones64, Pixabay

You might also be interested in: What Do Baby Birds Eat (In the Wild and In Captivity)

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In Conclusion

Wild turkeys tend to be elusive, so many of us never see them when we are out and about. However, if you stay quiet while on a hike in the woods or you watch closely during a camping trip near a forest, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a family of wild turkeys going about their business. Most wild turkeys do whatever they can to stay away from humans, so it is never a good idea to advance toward them if you do happen to spot them in the wild.

You might also be interested in: 5 Best Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing – Reviews & Top Picks

Featured Image Credit: MOHANN, Pixabay

About the Author Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Since 2000, Rachael has been a freelance writer, and has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens, so it's no surprise that animals happen to be her favorite topic to write about!