Turkey (bird)

genus of birds

Turkeys are a family (Meleagrididae) of bird. They are something like a chicken but much bigger. Wild turkeys live in forests in North America and Central America. In the United States, people traditionally eat turkey on the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Temporal range: 23–0 Ma
Early Miocene – Recent
Wild turkey eastern us.jpg
Wild turkey
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Meleagridinae
Genus: Meleagris
Linnaeus, 1758
Meleagris gallopavo

The family Meleagrididae has one genus in it, Meleagris. This genus has two species:


When people from Europe first saw turkeys in the Americas they thought the birds were a type of guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). This bird had been brought to central Europe from the country of Turkey. The name of that country stuck as the name of the bird. [1]

The confusion with the name is also seen in the scientific name: meleagris is Greek for guinea-fowl.


  1. Messenger, Stephen (11/23/2010). "Naming of the Turkey". How an American Bird Got the Name 'Turkey'. The Guardian. Retrieved 9/23/2016. Check date values in: |accessdate= and |date= (help)

Other websitesEdit

  Media related to Meleagris at Wikimedia Commons