Where did the turkey get its name?

Have you ever wondered what Turkey (the country in the Middle East) and the American bird have in common?  A case of mistaken identity resulted in the American Turkey being named after the country.  When the Spanish first found the bird in the Americas more than 400 years ago they brought it back to Europe. The English mistakenly thought it was a bird they called a “turkey” so they gave it the same name. This other bird was actually from Africa, but came to England by way of the Turkey (lots of shipping went through Turkey at the time). The name stuck even when they realized the birds weren’t the same.

Turkey Terms

Caruncle – brightly colored growths on the throat region.  Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

Gizzard – a part of a bird’s stomach that contains tiny stones.  It helps them grind up food for digestion.

Hen – a female turkey.

Poult – a baby turkey.  A chick.

Snood – the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak.  Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

Tom – a male turkey.  Also known as a gobbler.

Wattle – the flap of skin under the turkey’s chin. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

More interesting facts about Turkey the bird can be found at http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/turkey.htm

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