Origin: So called because it was formerly erroneously believed that it came originally from Turkey: cf. F. Turquie Turkey. See Turk.
(Science: zoology) Any large American gallinaceous bird belonging to the genus meleagris, especially the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and the domestic turkey, which was probably derived from the mexican wild turkey, but had been domesticated by the indians long before the discovery of America.
The mexican wild turkey is now considered a variety of the northern species (var. Mexicana). Its tall feathers and coverts are tipped with white instead of brownish chestnut, and its flesh is white. The Central American, or ocellated, turkey (M. Ocellata) is more elegantly coloured than the common species. See Ocellated. The Australian, or native, turkey is a bustard (Choriotis australis). See Native.