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Ocellated Turkey Meleagris ocellata

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Jon T. McRoberts, Terrell D. Rich, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi

Diet and Foraging


General food types, food capture, and consumption are similar to Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). Major food items appear to vary seasonally. Documented food items include the leaves of Ambrosia artimisiifolia, Zebrina spp., Vitis spp. Paspalum spp., the grass seed heads of Paspalum conjugatum, nuts of Arecoid palms, fruits of Brosimum alicastrum (Sugihara and Heston 1981), fruits of Solanum hirtum (Leopold 1948), and the roots of yucca (Gaumer 1883). Invertebrates also make up a portion of the diet (Lint 1977, Sugihara and Heston 1981) and are particularly important during poult development (Lint 1977). Feeding observations collected at Tikal National Park, Guatemala in April report that 50.7% of pecks were targeted at seeds of grasses, 30.5% at leaves, 8.1% at fruits, 7.0% at flowers, 2.4% at insects, and 1.3% at grit (Steadman et al. 1979). Grit and gravel are needed to assist with the breaking down of food matter for digestion.

Surface water can be limited in portions of occupied range and dew and fruit appear to contribute greatly to water requirements. Unconfirmed reports exist of extended movements driven by the search for water during dry months.

Foraging Behavior

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Recommended Citation

McRoberts, J. T., T. D. Rich, C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2012). Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.