I am going to France for Christmas where the festive bird will be a capon – which got me thinking about turkey – the one on the right, not the country.
Image: Stephen Messenger
They are such an outrageously spectacular bird – so full of puff and blow. So here’s a moment to appreciate this creature in all its glory and diversity – before it lands on your plate.
The gorgeous fellow above is the Ocellated turkey – a species of wild turkey native to the Yucatan peninsula in Central America. Its name refers to the eye-shaped bronze spots on their tail feathers, which are bluish gray and tipped with gold. Early scientists thought these birds might be related to peacocks, but they are not.
Image from: motherearthnews
The Royal Palm turkey, like all turkeys comes from the Americas and although it has good flavour it is mainly appreciated for its decorative plumage.
Image from Robert Gibson
Well look-yee here – The Narragansett turkey is one of the heritage breeds being raised to meet the demands of the growing market for flavour but I love his iridescent blue trim.
The White Holland does not come from the Low Countries but is thought to have been a favourite with the Aztecs. Can you imagine just stumbling across this birds while on a walk in the woods?
Image: Mike Walters
Here’s a very rare sight – The Chocolate turkey. The name does not describes the taste of course but refers more to the color of its feathers, shanks, and feet. It was developed in the American South prior to the Civil War but the destruction caused by that war took the Chocolate turkey with it, and the breed remains very rare today.
Much more common today – in fact soon to be all over the shops is this fabulous fellow – the Bronze turkey and this one too
the Norfolk Black. – another magnificent bird I have to say. All these turkeys derived from the original wild turkeys (meleagris gallopavo).
I bet you’re wondering why we call them turkeys and not americanies or some such? It seems that the first ones came over from the New World in the 16th century in ships which sometimes arrived via eastern ports like Venice so people assumed they were from the Turkish regions. Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief flick through – there are lots more breeds, and, for anyone who is super keen here’s an interesting article on heritage birds. – http://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/resources/internal/heritage-turkeySubscribe to our blog