Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Todd R. Mills; Mark A. Rumble
    Date: 1991
    Source: Wilson Bulletin. 103(1): 137-138.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (77.0 KB)


    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.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


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


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

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page