Ocellated wild turkeys, which live in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, are its own species of wild turkey. In my opinion, the Ocellated has the most beautiful plumage of any of the turkeys. The body feathers on both males and females are very similar with their bronze green iridescent coloration. The tail feathers of both the males and females are blue/gray in color, and they have an eye shaped blue bronze colored spot close to the end of the tail feathers. The eye shaped spot on the tail feather is how the Ocellated gets its name (the Latin word for “eye” is “oculus”). The end of the tail feathers are tipped with gold. The Ocellated wild turkey really is quite striking.
The head and neck of Ocellated wild turkeys are also very unique as these are light blue colored with orangeish red growths. The male Ocellated has a blue fleshy “crown” behind its snood. The crown enlarges and the growths on the head and neck become more noticeable during breeding season.
The Ocellated is much smaller than any of the North American turkeys with males weighing 10 – 12 pounds and females weighing about 6 – 8 pounds. The one body part that is not small on Ocellated wild turkeys are the spurs on the males, as 2″ spurs are not uncommon. The male Ocellated turkey also does not have a beard like its North American male cousins.
Another major difference in the Ocellated and North American turkeys is that the males do not gobble. To attract hens during breeding season, the males sing instead of gobbling. These birds are very territorial, and some hunters are having success calling in male Ocellated wild turkeys by imitating a male’s drumming sounds. However, many hunters take their Ocellated off the roost by listening for their singing as dawn breaks and then sneaking up to their roost tree for a shot before the bird flies down for the day. The thick jungles that Ocellated wild turkeys live in make for a very challenging hunt, and the limited range and population of this bird only adds to the challenge. If you are interested in hunting an Ocellated, save your money as this hunt is an expensive one. Despite the expense, the experience and the trophy (if you are successful) are second to none.