The Black, sometimes referred to as the Black Spanish or the Norfolk Black, is a breed of domestic turkey. The Black was developed in Europe from the Aztec turkeys originally brought from Mexico by Spanish explorers. Despite the monikers of “Spanish and “Norfolk” (England), birds of this type live in many European nations. Originally, black colored turkeys were a relative rarity among New World flocks, but Europeans heavily selected for this trait until it became predominant.The “Norfolk Black” is generally considered the oldest turkey breed in the UK
Black turkeys were sent in the holds of ships on the transatlantic crossing from Europe to the New World, and were raised by early colonists. Ironically, it is likely that the turkey consumed at the first Thanksgiving meal may have actually been from European birds, rather than wild turkeys native to the continent, though these descended from same bird.
- Breed Size: Medium to large
- Weight: Tom-Around 10.5 kg, Hen-Around 6.5 kg
- Climate Tolerance: Almost all climates
- Color: Black
- Rarity: Common
- Country/Place of Origin: Europe
The Black turkeys are medium to large sized birds with very beautiful appearance. They have lustrous, metallic black plumage with a greenish sheen on top and a dull back undercolor. It is not accepted or undesirable to have a brownish or bronze cast or any white.
The young or poults will often have white or bronze color in their feathers, but change into black after molting. Beak of the Black turkey is black, and the wattle is bright red (changeable to bluish-white). In adults, the shanks and toes are of pink color. Eyes of these birds are of dark brown color.
The Standard weight is 23 pounds for young toms and 14 pounds for young hens, making the Blacks slightly smaller than the Bronze. Since, however, the Black has not been selected for production attributes for years, many birds may be smaller than the breed standard. While generally known as the Black turkey, the terms “Norfolk Black” and “Black Spanish” are also used in the United States when referring to this variety, though in the end all these terms refer to the same Black variety.
The Black turkey originated in Europe as a direct descendant of the Mexican turkeys carried home with explorers in the 1500s. Black colored turkeys became popular in Spain where they were known as “Black Spanish”, and in England, especially in the Norfolk region where they were known as “Norfolk Blacks.”
Black turkey images
Also more: Bat-Eared Fox