While evaluating reproductive parameters in Rio Grande Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas, we observed a case of poult adoption and abandonment of an active nest. In wild turkeys, adoption of poults has been described previously, but during our observation the hen also abandoned her nest at a late stage of incubation. Most research discussing adoption in gallinaceous birds has focused on brood abandonment after hatch. Although poult adoption in conjunction with nest abandonment is probably rare, our observations indicate that it can occur, at least in Rio Grande Wild Turkeys.
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Vol. 118 • No. 2