Defining Turkey Head Parts

Submitted by Joni B. on 04/03/2003. ( )

Exactly, which part of the turkey's head is the "cap," "snood," "caruncles," and "wattles"?

Remember, now, there's no such thing as a "dumb question" if a person doesn't know, so be nice.

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I don't buy that, but anyway

This response submitted by George on 04/03/2003. ( )

The "cap" is the crown of the head that's usually almost white on adult gobblers. The snood is the little "finger" that sits atop its face between the beak and the eyes and that extends to some length when excited during the strut. Caruncles are the folds of skin in front of the neck, while wattles are the side "flaps" under the eyes.

Now to the dumb question. Your's WASN'T a dumb question as it had substance in little know terminology. DUMB questions are those that are painfully obvious except to the most dense individual on the face of the earth. "How do I unthaw birds" is a good one. If you look through the archives, you'll see tons of dumb questions. The dumbest is "If you don't like what's being said, why do you read it?" DUH, how was I supposed to find out I didn't like it?

But your question was a good one and many people are glad you asked it.


This response submitted by Bruce Norton on 04/03/2003. ( )

In my opinion, the wattles are the big,red, quarter sized nodes at the base of the neck where it meets the feathers. I guess you could call that "under the eye", but way way way under the eye, so far away that it is on the lower neck.

Bruce Norton

turkey parts

This response submitted by terry v on 04/03/2003. ( )

The small, smooth bumps on the tom (male) turkey's head and neck are called "caruncles" The "snood" is like George said. It also helps when the turkey becomes overheated. Wild turkeys do not have wattles. The single fold of skin under the turkey's throat is called the "dewlap"

More info

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 04/03/2003. ( )

Wattle and dewlap are two words for the same thing - ie: that thin, semi-transparent flap of skin that hangs under the throat.
I have never heard of a specific term for the folds under the eye, (not to say that there isn't one) but everything else has been described accurately.


This response submitted by terry v on 04/04/2003. ( )

Nancy, lets call the skin below the eyes "cheeks". Your right about wattle and dewlap. I think of wattles as on pheasants and chickens. So to corect my statement.... Wild turkeys do not have wattles, but they can have a wattle. :)

Now, do turkeys have lips?


This response submitted by ETCC on 04/04/2003. ( )

Wattle ya have with that?...Fries or baked potato?

Major Caruncles

This response submitted by Bruce Norton on 04/04/2003. ( )

To be technical, the large red things at the base of the neck are called the major caruncles. But I think most turkey hunters refer to them as the wattles as I stated above. Just type in turkey wattles in your search engine and see what comes up. I also know a southern boy from Mississippi who talked about the great turkey wattle gravey his uncle made, so I know for a fact that turkey must have wattles. :) Of course, he also talked about eating fried squirrel heads and picking the brains out. Quite a delicacy I guess.


OK. Cheeks they shall be!

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 04/04/2003. ( )

'Sounds good to me! From now on, those folds on a turkeys face are cheeks.
Fried squirrel heads and turkey wattle gravy ... hmmmmmmm ... I'm not sure whether that should be yuck or yum. (I'm leaning toward yuk.)
I guess it would be OK if it had a side order of stuffed duck's feet!

Nancy, Did you buy my book YET?

This response submitted by George on 04/05/2003. ( )

"Cat-Head Biscuits and Squirrel Stew" at

And Terry, that's WADDLES, not wattles. LOL

Wattles for new students

This response submitted by Elisa on 11/06/2003. ( )

Thanks for the info. I had no idea where to start. My daughter had this as a homework question. One Mom could not answer.

Wattle: Raison de etre?

This response submitted by Jean McCormic on 11/07/2003. ( )

But what does the Wattle do? Of what use is it to the bird? During a 2nd grade project, at least 7 8 year olds asked me (just a mom helping out on an art project). I automatically passed the question to the teacher, who said "How should I know?" I would like to go back to that class and tell them exactly what a wattle is and does! Thanks in advance to any assistance!


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