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Going on average mass, several other birds on the continent, including the American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), the tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) and the very rare California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and whooping crane (Grus americana) surpass the mean weight of turkeys.On one hand, none of these other species are as sexually dimorphic in size as the wild turkey, but on the other, they are also far less numerous and are not legally hunted unlike the turkey, thousands of which are weighed every year during hunting season.Adult males, called toms or gobblers, have a large, featherless, reddish head, red throat, and red wattles on the throat and neck. Juvenile males are called jakes; the difference between an adult male and a juvenile is that the jake has a very short beard and his tail fan has longer feathers in the middle.The adult male's tail fan feathers will be all the same length.The adult male (or "tom") normally weighs from 5 to 11 kg (11 to 24 lb) and measures 100–125 cm (39–49 in) in length.

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Male turkeys have a long, dark, fan-shaped tail and glossy bronze wings.In early spring, males older than 1-year-old (sometimes called gobblers or toms) and, occasionally to a lesser extent, males younger than 1-year-old (sometimes called jakes) gobble to announce their presence to females and competing males. Males also emit a low-pitched "drumming" sound; produced by the movement of air in the air sack in the chest, similar to the booming of a prairie chicken.In addition they produce a sound known as the "spit" which is a sharp expulsion of air from this air sack. Gobblers often yelp in the manner of females, and hens can gobble, though they rarely do so. Wild turkeys are omnivorous, foraging on the ground or climbing shrubs and small trees to feed.Tail feathers are of the same length in adults, different lengths in juveniles.Males typically have a "beard", a tuft of coarse hair (modified feathers) growing from the center of the breast. In some populations, 10 to 20% of females have a beard, usually shorter and thinner than that of the male.

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