Wild Turkey
(Meleagris gallopavo)


Picture of bird
© Marcel Gahbauer
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Although native to southern Ontario and southern Quebec, the Wild Turkey was extirpated in the early 1900s. The species was re-introduced in the 1980s and now occupies an expanded breeding range that reaches eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and the southern-most parts of the four western provinces. Results from the Breeding Bird Survey indicate that populations have increased markedly since about 1970. A prized game bird for human consumption, the species is hunted over most of its range.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early April and late April and ends between early July and mid-July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

Over-hunting of Wild Turkey depressed the population to critical lows in the early 20th century (McRoberts et al. 2014). This species has responded well to the work of game managers to increase and maintain abundance through stocking, transplanting and reintroductions; the population is expanding rapidly.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type