Can Wild Turkeys Fly? (Here is What You Need To Know)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Wild turkeys are large birds that are usually found in forests, and sometimes im swamps.

They are one of the two species of turkeys that are still in existence.

They are found mainly in North America where it was later domesticated.

The domesticated ones are the turkeys we all know and eat.

You should note however that, wild turkeys and domestic turkeys do not taste the same.

They walk mostly in flocks. They move around by walking or running and sometimes flying too.

Can wild turkeys fly? Yes, wild turkeys can fly, and they fly well enough. Wild turkeys can’t fly very far, but they fly short distances when fleeing predators or when they want to nest in trees at night for safety.

Do turkeys have wings?

Yes, turkeys have wings. Both wild and domesticated turkeys have wings.

Wild turkeys can use their wings to fly short distances, while domesticated turkeys can’t use their wings to fly at all.

Their wings are mostly useless.

This is because flying has been bred out of them.

Domestic turkeys have large breast because they are mainly reared for their meat, that is why flying is a no no.

The male turkeys usually have beautiful wings in bronze color which adds to brilliance of their feathers.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on “Can turkeys drown in the rain“?

How far can wild turkeys fly?

Wild turkeys can fly but not very far.

They can only fly short distances when fleeing predators or when they want to nest in trees at night for safety.

Wild turkeys have breast muscles and cupped wings that enables them make rapid flights at a very fast speed, but unfortunately they cannot have a sustained flight so they won’t go far.

They can usually  fly at a speed and distance of  about 55 miles per hour which is quite awesome, compared to their domesticated counterparts, but they can’t go for more than a 100 yards or so.

This is however quite enough since they mostly fly to flee predators or nest at night on trees.

Can domestic turkeys fly?

Domestic turkeys were domesticated from the wild ones and this should mean they can fly, but unfortunately that is not true.

Domestic turkeys cannot fly. This ability has been bred out of them in order for them to have more meat mass.

But they really do not need to fly. They don’t sleep in trees like wild turkeys. Instead, coops are provided by their owners to ensure they are comfortable.

They should also be properly secured within their coops or on the farm. Even if they can’t go out, predators can come in and harm them.

How fast can wild turkeys fly?

Wild turkeys can fly very fast, however short.

A wild turkey when it senses predators can fly very fast at a speed of about 55 miles per hour to reach safety.

Wild turkeys however mostly walk and forage for food on the forest floor.

You can hardly see them flying here and there, since they can’t even sustain a flight.

They are also very fast runners.

Wild turkeys can run fast at a pace of 25 miles per hour which is quite amazing.

Can male turkeys fly?

Male turkeys can fly if they are wild.

We know wild turkeys fly short distances at fast speed.

So, wild male turkeys can fly.

However, a domestic male turkey cannot.

This is because that ability has been bred out of them.

They can flap their wings when they are frightened which may give an impression that they can fly, but they can’t.

Do turkeys migrate?

No, turkeys are not migratory.

They do not migrate from their habitat.

They however change their living and feeding conditions to suit the season.

Naturally, wild turkeys forage the forest floors and sleep on trees, but this change during winter.

They wander the forest looking for larger trees with enclosed areas and enough supply of food.

The large trees protect them from the harsh weather and help them survive the season.

Want to start rearing turkeys? Here is a comprehensive guide on “How to raise turkeys


Wild turkeys can fly and very fast, but they cannot sustain a flight.

This ability is mainly for fleeing predators and for mounting trees to sleep.

Both wild and domestic turkeys have wings but domestic turkeys can’t use theirs to fly.

This is because they are mainly reared for their meat.

Wild turkeys fly at an alarming speed of 55 miles per hour or more, but they can’t fly farther than a 100 yards or so.

Wild male turkeys can fly for a short distance as explained but domestic male turkeys can’t.

They can jump and flap their wings when frightened, but they cannot fly.

Wild turkeys sleep on trees and forage the forest floor for food but this change during the winter.

They move in flocks during this season looking for larger trees with enclosed areas, where they can be protected from the harsh weather and lay low till summer.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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