November 22, 2018
A Resplendent Turkey
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
Ocellated turkeys (Meleagris ocellata) are described by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as having bare blue heads that are covered in clumps of bright orange warts. I see something sweeter —cerulean skin dotted with ball-shaped beauty marks that look a lot like Skittles™, the fruity and colorful candy. Both females (above) and males of this species possess this feature, and when the males strut their stuff during breeding events, these nodules become even more vibrant.
Found in Central America, ocellated turkeys range through parts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. They are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List due to pressure from subsistence hunting and loss of habitat. Conservation efforts are underway including population monitoring to help to protect these birds and their environment.
To celebrate the Thanksgiving season and the birds that represent it best, stop by the Bronx Zoo’s World of Birds to see these festive ocellated turkeys, relatives of North America’s wild turkeys.