Rare White Turkey Poult Spotted In Walker County
A white turkey poult showed up in late July in Walker County on the camera of Dacin Lowe. Several pictures of the white bird were taken with other normal-colored poults and an adult hen turkey.
We emailed one of the pictures to WRD’s State Wild Turkey Coordinator Emily Rushton to get her thoughts.
“That is really cool. I believe that’s a leucistic turkey (lack of feather pigment), which is pretty rare,” said Emily. “It could be a domestic poult that somehow ended up with this brood, but I would guess based on the similar sizes of all the poults that it’s a wild turkey. It’s very neat. I really hope this bird makes it to adulthood!”
The wild turkey has four distinct color variations from what is considered the usual plumage—smoke phase, erythritic or red phase, melanistic or black phase, and true albinos, which are pure white with pink eyes. Although these color variations are uncommon, the smoke phase is the most frequently seen, while the albino is the most rare. Some say the albino is as rare as one in 100,000. Recessive genes or mutations account for the color abnormalities.
A white gobbler was killed during the 2019 turkey season in neighboring Chattooga County by Les Hutchins, of Flintstone.
“I’m 56 years old, and I’ve been on that farm since I was born,” said Les. “I’ve been hunting turkeys on there since we had them, maybe 30 or 35 years, and I’ve never seen a solid white turkey there. This bird had a black beard, a little bit of color on its head, and its toe nails and spurs were white.”
Walker County is located in the extreme northwest corner of Georgia along the Tennessee line south of Chattanooga.
Dacin reached back out to GON through its Instagram page the first weekend in September.
“I saw it in person while feeding Saturday but didn’t have a chance to get it with my phone. Turkeys are in the plot pretty frequently, so hopefully we’ll get to watch it this spring.”
Email your outdoor findings to [email protected].
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