Turkeys are one of the most recognizable birds in the United States, but many people don’t imagine them in the wild. However, wild turkeys are found in all 50 states, including the Silver State, Nevada. There is one species of wild turkey in the United States, Meleagris gallopavo, but it’s split into six different subspecies. In Nevada, we have the Rio Grande wild turkey and the Merriam’s wild turkey, two subspecies adapted to drier, warmer climates. Most of the population here is made of Rio Grande wild turkeys, a large turkey with longer legs suited to prairie ecosystems. They live in groups in shrubby, grassy areas adjacent to streams. The Nevada Department of Wildlife began introducing turkeys in the state in 1960, in areas like the Ruby Mountains, river corridors in western Nevada, and Lincoln County and the Moapa Valley in southern Nevada. Because their numbers and range is quite small, any problems like drought or predation can seriously affect populations of turkeys in Nevada. However, the population is able to support a hunting season almost every year, closely managed by NDOW to ensure a viable reproductive population is maintained.
Learn More about Turkey Hunting in Nevada
Learn More about the different Turkey Subspecies
Download a Turkey Coloring Page
This blog is managed by the staff and volunteers of Galena Creek Visitor Center. We write about parts of the natural world that we find fascinating and want to teach others about, as well as keeping you updated on the Visitor Center and park. If you want to learn more, please sign up for our monthly newsletter, where we share upcoming events, updates on the ecology of the park, and highlights from each month.