Meleagris gallopavo merriami

The Merriam's Turkey is the largest game bird in North America and can most often be found within the Ponderosa Pine's of the West. It is a stout bird with a bluish-gray naked head and pink neck. During courtship, the tom's head color can vary from white to light gray, deep blue or bright red depending on mood. The throat wattles are red, and the body is covered with iridescent feathers.

The turkey roosts in trees, has keen eyesight and hearing, and is social. The turkey does not fly long distances, but can flap and glide at 45 to 50 mph for about a mile and can run quickly (15-18 mph). T

They can be found at all elevations,  up to 10,000 feet in the Western mountains and plains from northern Arizona to Washington and Montana and eastern Minnesota. The natural range of the Merriam's turkey is the Rocky Mountains.

Our Current Resident

Button, Male- Hatched 2021 (estimate)

Button came to ZooMontana from a local farm after being harassed by other animals.  He is fond of his caregivers, likes taking walks, and is working on his social skills with the Zoo's Peacocks. 


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Genus: Meleagris
  • Species: M. gallopavo

Our Animals