Black Turkey Characteristics

The Black turkey is from Europe, which was kept for meat production. It is also called in other names like Black Spanish and Norfolk Blacks. They are famous for their calm disposition, rapid growth, and early maturation.

The European explorers brought Black Turkeys to America. Once they are here, they are crossed with Eastern wild turkeys. This resulted in the formation of American Black variety. They were not as popular as Narragansett, Bourbon Red, Bronze and White Holland in the 20th century.

Black is one of the very old varieties. The two varieties are Spanish and Norfolk, which are popular all across Europe. As the same suggests they are from Spain and Norfolk County, England.

Some Articles suggest they were bred in large numbers along the East Coast(America). Once they were very popular in their homeland became a rarity in the following days. So Blacks were again sent from the United States to Spain,  to improve the numbers.

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Black Turkey Characteristics

Blacks have lustrous greenish-black plumage on the top and a dull black under color.

It is not desirable to have a brownish or any white feathers. But Poults do have white or bronze in their feathers.

The beak is black in color, wattles are red, shanks and toes are pink in adults.

The skin is white in the black turkey. Sometimes due to their diet, it may have a yellow tinge in their skin. Due to green feed and corn tend to have a more yellow cast to the skin.

The eye is dark brown in color.

Black Adult Tom is 27 pounds and hens are 18 pounds.  Young Toms’s weight is 23 pounds and 14 pounds for young hens.

Black Turkey Facts

American Poultry Association recognized Black turkey in 1874.

Black Turkey is mainly bred for meat, as they are Heritage turkey their meat has exceptional taste and texture.

Blacks meat is considered delicacy in England, it’s no more a favorite in America.

Docile temperament makes them easier to breed.

Black turkeys are in the Watch list of American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Brief characteristics of Black Turkey

Breed NameBlack Turkey
Other NameBlack Spanish, Norfolk Black
Country/Place of OriginEurope
Breed PurposeMeat 
Breed SizeMedium
10 kg
Hen(Female)6 kg
Dispositionactive, docile, rapid growth, early maturation
Climate ToleranceAll Climates

Frequently asked questions

1. How big do Black Spanish turkeys get?

The Black Spanish turkeys are quiet smaller than Bronze turkey. The Standard weight is 23 pounds for young toms as well as 14 extra pounds for young hens. The Black has actually not been picked for production characteristics for several years, several birds might be smaller than the type requirement.
The breed is widely referred to as Black Spanish Turkey yet is also described as simply Black or Norfolk Black.

2. What is the difference between a bronze and Black turkey?

The Norfolk Black turkey is just one of the original turkey breeds.
The Bronze turkey was bred out of the Norfolk Black and has a smooth succulent taste which truly rattles the palate. It has a broad breast will give you a lot of succulent white meat.

3. How long do Black Spanish turkeys live?

The Black turkey came from Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys carried residence with travelers in the 1500s. Black Spanish turkeys live around 6 to 10 years.

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