Carrie Zylka shares 6 ways to tell the difference between a gobbler and a hen while in the field, in this post originally published at “The Wild World of CarrieZ.”
When you’re out there, sitting in a blind or calling against a tree and a flock of turkeys come in, how do you know which one to take?
Size: Adult males usually weigh between 15-25 pounds where a female is usually much smaller, topping out around 10 pounds.
Feathers: Like 99% of all bird species, Toms have flashy, iridescent feathers to not only attract a female but to draw predators away. A Jake’s (immature male) center tail feathers will be longer than the rest of the fan where a mature Tom’s tail feathers will be even. Hens have feathers geared towards camouflage to hide them and their eggs when sitting on a nest.
Head: A Tom’s head is usually featherless and can change colors from red, white or blue. A Hen will have a blue head. Both sexes will have the bumpy growths on their heads known as caruncles and both also have a snood – a long fleshy growth that will hang over their bill. A Tom’s snood will be considerably longer than a Hen’s.
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