The ocellated turkey is the shinier, tropical, more-fabulous brother of our comparatively drab wild turkey. It lives mostly in Mexico’s YucatÁ¡n Peninsula, with a few small populations just over the border in Guatemala and Belize.
And it is completely bonkers looking! Its head, which is feather-free, is a deep cobalt blue and dotted with pustules which somehow become nice to look at because they’re neon orange and red. Its feathers are nuts: deeply iridescent with shades of orange, blue, and turquoise. The tail feathers have eye-spots on them similar to a peacock’s, which is how the bird got its name: When animals are called “oscillated” it’s usually because they have some kind of eye-shaped decoration.
It looks, mostly, like a normal turkey that’s been tie-dyed.
The ocellated turkey lives primarily in jungle and tropical savannah environments, and eats, like the northern wild turkey, basically whatever it can find on the ground: insects, leaves, fruits, berries, nuts. It’s a common sight in Tikal, a site in Guatemala that’s famous for the ancient Mayan ruins found there. That said, it is, like the wild turkey, commonly hunted, and it’s also the victim of habitat destruction, which accounts for its status as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.
Oh, and it sounds like this. Haha. “balwwwalwawwlggbbowoawwallgGBABALLWWAALBGBL.”