The fascinating world of turkeys isn’t about individual birds but their collective presence. So, what is a group of turkeys called? Young turkeys form sibling groups as they venture out into the world. These juvenile males and juvenile females form separate flocks, creating unique gendered flocks. Female turkeys, known as hens, form larger groups in the breeding season, while male turkeys, called toms, establish dominance by creating male groups or bachelor groups.
In the wild, the turkeys prefer to congregate in large groups, sometimes referred to as rafts or flocks. These gatherings often comprise multiple females, nesting females, and their offspring. Wild turkeys, a native North American bird, are known for their preference to roost in tree branches, providing them with safety and a vantage point.
In contrast, domesticated turkeys, also called domesticated pets, live in smaller mating flocks, where you may find turkeys friendly, unlike a wild male. In our guide, you can learn more about this emotionally sensitive bird and why turkeys congregate the way they do. By the end, you’ll better understand the names of groups of turkeys roosting and why many people think of these noisy birds as other domesticated pets rather than Thanksgiving dinner. (Read Camo Paint Techniques)
Other Terms For A Group of Wild Turkeys
The Common Names: A group of turkeys can go by several names depending on the context. The most widely recognized term is “rafter.” However, regarding domesticated turkeys, other common names like “gang,” “rafter,” or “gaggle” are also used.
Besides the names mentioned above, there is a rich tapestry of collective nouns used to describe groups of turkeys.
A Flock of Turkeys:
This term describes a group of turkeys living in the wild. It conveys the sense of unity and cohesion among these sociable birds.
A Herd of Turkeys:
While “herd” is more commonly associated with ungulates, it can also describe a group of turkeys.
A School of Turkeys:
This term, reminiscent of fish swimming in unison, highlights the synchronized movement and coordination often observed in turkey flocks.
A Muster of Turkeys:
This name conveys a sense of organization and purpose, emphasizing how turkeys come together as a collective unit.
A Mob of Turkeys:
With their spirited nature, turkeys can sometimes exhibit mob-like behavior, especially during the mating season.
A Posse of Turkeys:
Drawing inspiration from law enforcement, this collective noun emphasizes the close-knit relationships and mutual support within a group of turkeys.
Turkeys and Group Behavior
Turkeys live in groups, and these gatherings often have different names depending on the context. One commonly used term for a group of turkeys is “Rafter.”
However, turkeys can also be referred to by other collective nouns, like “Flock,” “School,” “Crop,” “Gang,” “Mob,” “Brood,” “Death Row,” “Dule,” “Muster,” “Raffle,” or even “Thanksgiving.” (Read Best Hunting Podcast)
What is a Group of Domesticated Turkeys Called?
In domesticated turkeys, primarily raised for their meat, collective nouns like “Rafter” and “Flock” are commonly used. Farmers often refer to their groups of turkeys as flocks, as these birds are considered a type of livestock. Since then, domesticated turkeys have spread across the globe, with the United States, Brazil, Germany, France, Poland, and Italy emerging as significant turkey meat producers.
The Wild Side: Collectives in the Wild
In their natural habitat, wild turkeys are usually found in forests, fields, and forest edges. Just like their domesticated counterparts, groups of wild turkeys are often called “Rafters.” Another collective noun used for wild turkeys is “Posse.”
Male Turkeys and Groups
Sexual dimorphism is apparent in many bird species, including turkeys. Male turkeys, known as “Toms.”
Young male turkeys are often called “Jakes.” When attempting to attract females during the breeding season, male turkeys can change the color of their heads by increasing blood flow, transforming pale gray heads into vivid red displays.
Groups of male turkeys are sometimes called “Runs” or “Bachelor groups.”
The Pairing Season and Beyond
During the breeding season in early spring, a male and a female turkey briefly pair up for a few weeks. However, there is no specific collective noun for a pair of turkeys. Male turkeys engage in mating with multiple females. After the breeding season, adult male turkeys separate from the females form smaller groups.
The Mysterious Female Turkeys
Female turkeys, known as “Hens,” exhibit distinct feather characteristics, with brown tips adorning their plumage. Juvenile female turkeys are called “Jennies.” These females gather in single-gender groups for part of the year. Once the mating season concludes, individual females separate and seek hidden locations to lay their eggs.
What Is A Group Of Baby Turkeys Called?
In the spring, female turkeys meticulously create nests on the ground and lay approximately ten eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the vibrant new turkey chicks, known as “Poults,” are ready to venture into the world almost immediately.
Why They Flock Together in Large Groups
With their plump bodies and impressive plumage, turkeys are known for their flavorful meat and intriguing social behavior. One fascinating aspect of their behavior is their tendency to create their own different flocks or large groups.
Safety in Numbers: A Natural Instinct
Like many other birds, turkeys find safety in numbers. Flocking together provides them with a collective defense mechanism against predators. By forming their own unique flocks or large groups, turkeys increase their chances of detecting potential threats and effectively evading them.
Breeding and Reproduction
Turkey flocks also are crucial for the breeding process. Throughout the year, turkeys form gendered flocks, with males and females congregating separately. The close proximity of these gendered turkey flocks enables male and female turkeys to compete for dominance, as a dominant male can mate with multiple hens.
Interestingly, young male turkeys, known as jakes, also exhibit dominant behaviors towards females until they can join a male flock and compete with other males. This complex social structure within male turkey flocks reflects the fierce competition for breeding opportunities and the intricate dynamics at play. (Read 7 Most Popular Hunting Shows On TV)
Nesting and Parental Care
When the mating season approaches, gendered groups of turkeys flock together, forming larger congregations. However, as the nesting season approaches, the dynamics shift. Nesting females become more secretive and break away from the males.
During this period, turkey hens lay up to 15 eggs and remain vigilant and protective of their young, called poults. Although there is no specific name for a group of baby turkeys, the nesting hens commonly flock together with other hens, providing mutual protection and support.
A few weeks after the breeding season, the male groups called jakes if juveniles break away from female turkeys called hens.
Social Hierarchies and Group Dynamics
Turkeys are highly social birds, and their flocks have their own unique hierarchies and group dynamics. However, loyalty is also prevalent among male and female turkeys flock, particularly within sibling groups.
Wild Turkeys vs. Domesticated Turkeys
It’s important to note that the social behavior of a group of wild turkeys may differ from that of domesticated turkeys. Domesticated turkeys, bred for meat production, are typically raised in controlled environments and may not exhibit the same social tendencies as their wild counterparts.
The selective breeding groups and artificial rearing conditions of domesticated turkeys can potentially affect their social behavior.
A Flock, a Rafter, or a Gaggle?
Regarding wild turkeys, a group is called a flock. However, the terminology differs for domesticated turkeys.
A gathering of domesticated turkeys is called a rafter or a gaggle.
So, if you stumble upon a group of turkeys in the wild? You can say you’ve encountered a turkeys flock, while on a farm, you might come across a rafter or a gaggle of turkeys.
But the naming conventions for turkey groups don’t stop there. Let’s explore some more collective nouns that you’d find a group of turkeys called:
- Death row
As you can see, the names can get quite specific. For instance, a group of wild turkeys called a run, specifically called a “run of turkeys.”
However, if the group comprises only male wild turkeys, you would find the turkeys called a posse. The terminology changes during the breeding season when these young males create a bachelor group.
The Origin of “Rafter” and “Gaggle”
Ever wondered why a group of turkeys is called a rafter? The term originated from the birds’ roosting behavior in rafters as the turkeys sleep. These elevated structures provided turkeys with concealment from inclement weather and potential predators. Over time, the association of turkeys with rafters led to the adoption “rafter” as a term to describe their group.
Similarly, “gaggle” is another term used to refer to wild turkey in groups. It stems from the noisy behavior of turkeys and other loud birds like geese. So, next time you hear a group of turkeys vocalizing, you can say you encountered a gaggle of turkeys.
FAQs: What Is A Group of Turkeys Called?
How many turkeys are in a flock?
The size of the turkeys’ flock can vary significantly, depending on various factors like habitat, availability of food, and breeding patterns. On average, these turkey groups can range from 5 to 200 individuals. However, larger flocks have been reported, especially during winter when turkeys gather in larger groups for protection and increase foraging opportunities.
What is a pair of turkeys called?
A pair of turkeys is commonly referred to as a “duo”. This term emphasizes the union of two turkeys, representing companionship and cooperation within the species. Interestingly, turkeys are highly social creatures and often establish strong bonds with their partners.
What is a pair of male turkeys called?
A pair of them is called a “tandem”. The term “tandem” highlights the dominant presence of the adult or juvenile male turkeys and the female turkey called by their synchronized movements during courtship displays. (Read Crossbow Laws By State)
These captivating rituals of the young males involve puffing up their feathers, spreading their tails, and emitting low-frequency sounds known as “gobbles” to attract female turkeys. Turkeys can make many sounds regardless of turkey subspecies.
What is a group of baby turkeys called?
A group of baby turkeys is adorably called a “brood”. These fluffy and energetic young ones stay close to their mother, learning essential survival skills like foraging and communication.
It is a heartwarming sight to witness a mother turkey diligently nurturing and protecting her brood.