7 Birds That Look Like Turkeys | Bird Guide

Turkeys have long been a staple of American Thanksgiving tables and are easily recognized by their large size, distinctive plumage, and the famous “gobble” sound they make. Although turkeys may look unique, quite a few birds look surprisingly similar to them. From their size to their feathers and behaviour, some species of wild birds look like turkeys.

Some of the more well-known “turkey lookalikes” include guineafowl, chachalacas, and curassows. Guineafowl boasts black and brown spotted feathers and bright red wattles around their neck, while chachalacas have glossy greenish feathers with white spots and a yellow eye ring. This article discusses the word best birds that look like turkeys.

What Are Turkeys?

Turkeys are a large bird species native to North America. They belong to the same family of birds as pheasants, quail, and grouse and have a long history of domestication. Turkeys are now enjoyed by millions worldwide each year during Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States and Canada, but they can also be found in many other countries.

The wild turkey is an iconic symbol of North American wildlife; they typically measure 3-4 feet tall, with males larger than females. The feathers come in shades of brown and black with white accents on their wings and tail feathers. Their diet primarily consists of seeds, insects, nuts, fruits, greens, and grasses found in woodland areas or open pastures. During the breeding season, turkeys will also form flocks called rafters which consist of multiple hens and one tom (male).

What Do Turkeys Look Like?

Turkeys are native to North America and are popular seasonal holiday food. As a species, turkeys have a unique appearance that can be easily distinguished from other birds. A turkey has an average body size of 18-40 pounds, depending on the breed.

They have large, feathery bodies with long legs and wings spanning 3-6 feet wide. Turkeys come in various colours, including white, black, tan, and red. The feathers on their neck area vary from fan-shaped to flat and droopy. Male turkeys have an impressive tail feather called “the gobble,” which is bright and contains several thin strands attached for added decoration.

Birds That Look Like Turkeys:

Now we see birds that look like turkeys:


Birds That Look Like Turkeys

Meleagrisgallopavo, more commonly known as the wild turkey, is an impressive bird that resembles a large version of the familiar Thanksgiving staple. With a shape and plumage that looks very much like what we find on our dinner table, it is easy to see why this bird species has become so iconic in recent years.

The wild turkey can be found in many different parts of North America and is home to grasslands, woodlands, and forests. They are omnivores that feed on nuts, seeds, insects, and plants while scavenging for food such as grain left by people or livestock. The birds travel in groups called flocks, usually consisting of five to fifty individuals. Males will strut their feathers during mating season to attract a female mate with whom they will form long-term pair bonds.


• Length: 43.3-45.3 in (110-115 cm)
• Weight: 88.2-381.0 oz (2500-10800 g)
• Wingspan: 49.2-56.7 in (125-144 cm)

Dusky Grouse:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

The Dusky Grouse is a large bird in the western United States and Canada. It looks very similar to the wild turkey but is quite different. The Dusky Grouse has several unique features that separate it from other game birds, making this species an attractive addition to any outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list of wildlife experiences.

The most obvious difference between the two birds is their distinctive tails. The Dusky Grouse has a fan-shaped tail with black and grey feathers, while the wild turkey has a long tail covered in brownish-black feathers with white tips. Also, unlike turkeys with long necks, their necks are short and stout, like pheasants. They also have feathered legs instead of bare ones like their turkey relatives.


• Length: 17.3-22.4 in (44-57 cm)
• Weight: 40.9-45.2 oz (1158-1281 g)
• Wingspan: 25.6-26.4 in (65-67 cm)

Greater Prairie Chicken:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

The greater prairie chicken is a large, ground-dwelling bird resembling the wild turkey. It is found in the tall grass prairies of North America and has been listed as threatened on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List since 1998.

This attractive bird is identified by its chestnut brown mottled feathers, black and white facial markings, and long spiky tail feathers. The males are particularly striking with their bright yellow air sacs, which they puff up during courtship displays. While these birds can weigh up to three pounds, females are usually much smaller than males and lack the vibrant colours of their counterparts.

At one time, this species was very common across the United States. Still, only isolated pockets are left due to habitat destruction from farming practices, urban development, and other human activities.


• Length: 16.9 in (43 cm)
• Weight: 31.9-36.1 oz (904-1024 g)
• Wingspan: 27.4-28.5 in (69.5-72.5 cm)

Greater Sage-Grouse:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

The Greater Sage-Grouse are unique birds that look like turkeys. It has an impressive physique, a long neck, and a broad chest. The male of the species has an iridescent brownish-purple colouring to its feathers and is adorned with yellow air sacks on the side of its head, while the female is mostly grey and white in colouration.

The bird inhabits open plains and sagebrush steppe ecosystems in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and California in the western United States. They are highly social creatures and often forage together in large flocks during spring and summer. During mating season, they perform elaborate courtship dances where males strut their stuff to attract potential mates.


• Length: 19-30 inches
• Weight: 2-7 lbs

Ring-necked Pheasant:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

The Ring-necked Pheasant is a species of bird that looks like a turkey, but it’s quite different. This bird is native to Europe and can be found in many parts of Asia and North America. Its long tail and neck with colourful plumage make it look similar to turkeys. The male pheasant sports an orange ring around its neck, which gives it its name.

The Ring-necked Pheasant utilizes grasslands and marshy areas as its habitat, with plenty of insects for the birds to feed. They also eat grains, seeds, fruits, and even small animals, such as mice or frogs, when they can find them. During mating season, the males have elaborate courtship displays with their feathers standing up to attract females.


• Length: 19.7-27.6 in (50-70 cm)
• Weight: 17.6-105.8 oz (500-3000 g)
• Wingspan: 22.1-33.9 in (56-86 cm)

Ruffed Grouse:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

Ruffed grouse are small birds that are often mistaken for wild turkeys. These birds can be found in wooded areas across the United States and Canada and can often be spotted around suburban yards. The ruffed grouse is a medium-sized bird with mottled brown plumage and distinctive black-banded tail feathers, making it appear like a wild turkey.
The ruffed grouse is named for the sharply pointed crest on its head, which resembles the pointed ruffles on a shirt collar. This crest will flare up when threatened or during courtship displays.


• Length: 15.8-19.7 in (40-50 cm)
• Weight: 15.9-26.5 oz (450-750 g)
• Wingspan: 19.7-25.2 in (50-64 cm)

Sooty Grouse:

Birds That Look Like Turkeys

Sooty grouse, also known as blue grouse or dusky grouse, is a species of western North American game bird that looks similar to turkeys. These big, plump birds have slate-grey to bluish-black feathers with white and yellowish markings on the neck and tail. They can be found in the forests of western Canada and the United States from Alaska down to Arizona.

Their diet consists mainly of insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, ants, and crickets, along with buds, leaves, fruits, and seeds. They often forage under cover at dawn or dusk to avoid predators. Sooty grouse are usually monogamous creatures, with males defending their territories by displaying their chestnut-coloured air sacs while producing low hooting noise.


• Length: 17.3-22.4 in (44-57 cm)
• Weight: 40.9-45.2 oz (1158-1281 g)
• Wingspan: 25.6-26.4 in (65-67 cm)

Final Thoughts-Birds That Look Like Turkeys

The fact that birds look like turkeys are truly fascinating. Not only is it interesting to observe, but it also opens up many possibilities for both scientists and bird enthusiasts alike. As we continue to observe and study these birds in the wild, we may uncover further details as to why they mimic each other’s appearance. With this knowledge, we can better understand the complex relationships between different species of birds and how they interact with their environments.


What large bird looks like a turkey?

The largest bird that looks like a turkey is Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata). It is native to Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It has a long, iridescent tail with a blue-green eye spot at the end of each feather, distinguishing it from other turkeys. The male’s head and neck are also brightly colored with blue, purple, red, green and bronze feathers. Its body is mostly grayish-brown.

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