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Publication Information

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Title: Poult adoption in Merriam's wild turkeys

Author: Mills, Todd R.; Rumble, Mark A.;

Date: 1991

Source: Wilson Bulletin. 103(1): 137-138.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: There are few documented cases of gallinaceous birds caring for offspring other than their own. Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) usually mate monogamously, with pairs remaining together throughout the breeding season, but they occasionally are polygynous (Hannon 1984, Martin and Cooke 1987, Martin 1989). If males are removed from monogamous pairs after breeding, replacement males may fill the openings and adopt the brood (Martin 1989). We observed four cases of apparent adoption by Merriam’s Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) during 1987, 1988, and 1989 while collecting data to determine dispersion and habitat selection patterns in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) ecosystem in the central Black Hills of South Dakota. Adoption by Merriam’s Wild Turkeys, to our knowledge, has not been documented previously. Merriam’s Wild Turkeys are polygynous, and the young are cared for and reared by hens.

Keywords: turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo merriami, poults, Black Hills, South Dakota

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Mills, Todd R.; Rumble, Mark A. 1991. Poult adoption in Merriam's wild turkeys. Wilson Bulletin. 103(1): 137-138.


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