The 7 Birds That Look Like Turkeys

Turkeys are one of the popular bird species for all the good reasons. It is the star of the Thanksgiving meals, for one, and their unique appearance that attracts the most attention. Turkeys are damn cool and it is hard to find a bird that looks exactly like them.

There are a few birds that share some similar physical traits with the turkeys.

Though side-by-side, the differences are apparent but some features closely resemble those of the turkey. Some Turkey lookalike birds are.

Birds That Look Like Turkey

  • Pheasant
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Curassow
  • Guineafowl
  • Greater Sage Grouse
  • Brush-Turkey
  • Blue-Throated Piping Guan

1. Pheasant

Like turkeys, Pheasant belongs to the family Phasianidae and the order Galliformes. This bird species is renowned for its long, glamorous tail.

Best known as Common Pheasant, the bird is widespread throughout the world. It somewhat resembles turkey in appearance as they belong to the same family and order.

There are about 49 Pheasant species, however, the popular ones are Common Pheasant, the Golden Pheasant, the Reeves’s Pheasant, the Silver Pheasant, and Ring-Necked Pheasant.

Similar to turkeys, Pheasants can fly but they are quite good at it, therefore prefer to stay on the ground.

This bird exhibits different colored patterns, their multi-colored plumage with a metallic shine and very strong red and blue-black colors on the head makes it easy to spot.

Turkeys do not have multiple colors and usually come in black or white colors.

However, their body structure is quite similar to the turkeys but they are not as heavier as the Thanksgiving bird.

This handsome game bird is found anywhere and thrives in a variety of habitats ranging from sea level to mountain areas as high as 11000 feet.

They are well-adapted to living in grasslands, deserts, and forests.

Despite being adapted for diverse habitats, Pheasants prefer particular environments, so, they move to different places during different seasons.

Pheasants feed on roots, berries, grains, and seeds during the winter season. As the summer arrives, they begin eating insects, spiders, and fresh green shoots.

2. Ruffed Grouse

Next up on the list is Ruffed Grouse that bears a close resemblance to turkeys. Both species of birds have many similarities but also several differences.

Talking about the differences, Wild turkeys belong to the order Galliformes whereas Ruffed Grouse is a game bird.

Turkeys are mainly found in North America, on the other hand, ruffed grouse are found in different continents of the world.

The most noticeable difference between the turkey and Ruffed Grouse is their size and weight.

Turkeys are considerably larger and weigh a lot heavier. Both birds prefer living in different habitats, gobblers prefer forests whereas Ruffed Grouse lives on open lands.

The color of these two birds differs as well.

Now, a little more about this bird that looks like Turkey, Ruffed Grouse is a medium-sized game bird supporting intricately barred and spotted plumage.

They have varying colors from greyish brown overall, reddish-brown, or intermediate tawny brown.

These well-camouflaged, turkey-like birds are often confused with grey partridge.

According to the agency of natural research Ruffed Grouse is about 1.5 feet tall, weighing between 0.99 to 1.65 lbs. Living in deciduous forest habitat, this bird is well-adapted to handle winter weather.

It is difficult to tell both sexes apart as both male and female birds are similarly marked and sized.

Ruffed Grouse or Bonasa umbellus mate in spring. Male birds display their feathers before females, surrounding their heads like an umbrella to attract them.

An adult pheasant bird is 21 inches to 34 inches tall whereas a male can be measured around 35 to 41 inches in length, with the tail making up half of the length.

3. Curassow

Curassow

Curassow is a big bird, about the size of a turkey, and looks a bit like it as well. Both of these birds have heavier builds and intimidating looks.

They are the largest-bodied bird species of the Cracid family. Like turkeys, most Curassow subspecies have glossy black plumage.

According to the Journal of Ethnobiology, Male of 7-12 Curassow species is glossy black with curled crests of feathers and a brightly colored bill ornament.

This game bird has delicious flesh, therefore, overhunting and habitat loss has declined the population of many subspecies.

Three popular subspecies are Great Curassow (Crax Rubra), Helmeted Curassow (Pauxi pauxi), and Razor-billed Curassow (C. mitu).

Each species resembles turkeys in one way or another, be it their large size, black plumage, or body structure.

Adult Great Curassow weighs 6.8 to 10 lbs and is 31 to 39 inches tall. It is one of the heaviest bird species of the family.

The Male is black with a white belly, curly crest, and yellow knob on the bill. Female Great Curassow has three morphs; barred morphs, rufous morphs, and dark morphs.

Helmeted Curassow species have large bluish-grey casque on their forehead, red bill, white-tipped tail feathers, white belly, greenish glossed mantle, and breast feathers.

This Curassow species grows up to be 100cm in length.

Mainly found in west Venezuela and north Colombia, there are only a few individuals left in the world. Female and male species almost look alike and resemble turkeys.

Razor-billed Curassow is a large, dark bird, easily recognizable owing to its red, crested bill.

Their plumage is black with blue gloss and grows up to be 83 to 89 cm and weighs 8.5 lbs, on average.

They forage on the forest floor like turkeys. Their diet mostly includes fallen fruits, leaves, insects, fungi, and small vertebrates.

Mainly found in Amazonia, Razor-Billed Curassow likes to live on the ground or in trees.

4. Guineafowl

Guineafowl

Belonging to the same taxonomic family (Galliformes), turkeys and guineafowl are fun to watch and raise and can be a profitable addition to the homestead.

Mostly raised for meat and eggs, both of these game birds can be an effective form of pest control when roaming free. They can fly like turkeys.

Native to the African Sahara, there are many varieties of Guineafowl such as French Pearl Grey Guinea, Coral Blue Guinea, Pied Guinea, and Lavender Guinea.

The most common variety is French Pearl Grey Guinea, having a dark grey or black plumage with tiny white specks.

Coral Blue Guinea has a dark coral blue shade to its neck, breast, and back. Lavender Guinea has light blue color with dark blue stripes and markings.

Pied Guineas have white patches on the chest, wings, and, sometimes, the back area.

These strong, entertaining birds can be the best watchdogs for your farm or backyard. When raised for meat, they weigh about 4 lbs at 12 weeks.

Guineafowl meat is lean, tender, and dark. These birds with larger-than-life personalities are extremely territorial and would not let anything foreign come near the property.

They are exceptionally loud and highly reactive to visitors.

They are not overly docile or friendly but the younger birds are easier to manage. Many traits of Guinea Fowl are similar to turkeys like they roost in the trees and forage on the ground.

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They are also very good runners, very difficult to catch, like gobblers. Guinea Fowls can live well with turkeys and chickens, but due to their dominant nature, they would like to run the coop.

They are extremely good foragers and gardeners who keep the property clean without uprooting plants or scratching the soil.

5. Greater Sage Grouse

The Greater Sage Grouse has a somewhat similar appearance as turkeys. It is quite an unusual-looking bird with a unique tail and two yellow sacs in the chest.

As the name indicates, this bird species is only found in the sagebrush country of the west. Whenever talking about the Sage Grouse, it is unfair not to mention the spectacular courtship displays of the males.

Each spring, a large number of male Sage Grouse gather on traditional dancing grounds and strut with their chests puffed out and spiky tails spread, hoping to attract the best females.

Males inflate yellow throat sacs while making booming, swishing, and popping noises, whereas the female sage looks at the performance with a critical eye.

These birds are mainly found in the vicinity of sage on sagebrush open plains, high valleys, rocky mesas, and mountainsides.

Their diet includes sage leaves, buds, and insects. In winter, their diet changes entirely to leaves and fresh shoots of sagebrush.

This bird is a permanent resident, however, moves short distances to lower elevations during winter.

Sage Grouse has been recognized as threatened or near-threatened by several organizations. The population has declined due to habitat loss through clearing for farmland and overgrazing.

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6. Brush-Turkey

Despite its name and superficial similarities, Brush-Turkey is not closely related to American Turkey. Big and bright, this bird species is hard to ignore.

Besides the name, they have a general turkey-like appearance with deep blue-black plumage, bright head feathers, and a broad flat tail.

As they age, Brush-turkeys lose the feathers on their heads and necks.

Like turkeys, they are clumsy fliers and cannot be airborne for long distances. Similar to the American turkeys, they only take flight when trying to escape predators or roost in trees at night.

Living in upland rainforests and wet woodlands near coasts, these birds are shy and solitary by nature. These Brush-Turkeys are omnivores that like to eat insects, fallen fruit, and seeds.

These birds have a tough life to start, their parents have little to do with them. Mother brush-turkeys do not really care for their kids or protect them from predators, they are raised without any adults.

7. Blue-Throated Piping Guan

Blue-Throated Piping Guan is somewhat similar in appearance to turkeys.

The South American bird belongs to the family Cracidae with a large black body and ghostly white skins.

Like turkeys, they are largely arboreal meaning they fly up to the tree to roost.

One other similarity with the turkey bird is that Blue-throated Piping Guan prefers living in a variety of forested habitats including mature rainforests, forest edges, and open woodlands.

It is one of the widespread species that grows up to be 69cm in length.

This Piping-Guan species is not easy to miss thanks to its bare facial skin with the color varying between white and cobalt blue.

It breeds during the rainy season when it builds a nest of twigs in dense canopy vegetation.

Solitary or in pairs, these birds spend more of their time in the canopy and sub-canopy of forests. Their staple diet includes palm fruit, flowers, figs, and snails.

This bird species is medium-sized, approximately 24-28 inches tall. Primarily black and white in color, they have reddish legs and white or pale blue beaks with black tips.

There are less than 10000 Blue-throated piping guan birds left in the wild. Destruction of habitat, pet trade, and hunting is responsible for the decline in population. Their habitats are lost as forests are converted to farmlands for agricultural use.

Final Words

To conclude, there are many land fowls that look a bit like turkeys. Turkeys have a unique appearance, though not any aforementioned bird is an exact copy of the turkey but some of their features will compel you to compare them to turkeys.

  • Hi, I am Talon Juper, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breeding. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder.

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