Sultan of the Swamp: The Osceola Wild Turkey

Sultan of the Swamp: The Osceola Wild Turkey

The Meleagris Gallopavo Osceola, or Osceola for short, is the Sultan of the Swamp. Named after Osceola, an early 19th century chief of the Seminole Indians, the Osceola wild turkey subspecies inhabits only the Florida Peninsula. Osceolas thrive in vast orange groves, open pastures and deep within cypress swamps of the Sunshine State. You'll have to endure mosquitoes and watch your step to avoid cottonmouths, rattle-snakes and alligators, but the Osceola hunting experience is unlike any other. The smallest of all subspecies, the Osceola's smaller body size often makes them appear to have longer legs. 


  • Primary Location: The Florida Peninsula
  • Estimated Population: 115,000*
  • Average Male Adult Weight: 16-20 lbs
  • Average Female Adult Weight: 8-12 lbs
Ryan Kirby Osceola Wild Turkey Home Range


Wing Feathers

A wild turkey’s wing feathers feature white and black barring at varying widths, depending on the subspecies. Osceola’s are notorious for their very dark wings, consisting of large black bars and thin, broken white strips

Tail fan

Ryan Kirby Wild Turkey Tail feather Colors

Tail feather coloration is the easiest way to differentiate the four subspecies. Used to display for hens during the spring, a gobbler's 18 tail feathers are the same length in adults, but different lengths in juveniles. Rio Grande turkeys have chocolate-brown tips on the tailfeathers with chestnut brown coverts.


Ryan Kirby Wild Turkey Beard Length

Made of modified feathers, all male turkeys and about 10% of hens sport a beard – long, dark bristles hanging from their breast. Beards can grow 4 to 6 inches annually, but wear at the tip as the turkey feeds. Terrain and habitat differences are the primary reasons for length variance among the subspecies. Osceola beards are generally thinner and slightly shorter than those of Easterns.


Ryan Kirby Wild Turkey Spur Length

The spurs on the back of a turkey’s leg are made of smooth, shiny keratin and range in color from black to pink. Both sexes are born with small button spurs, but they continue to grow in male turkeys. Osceolas in swampy areas can more easily grow long, razor-sharp spurs due to the softer terrain.


Ryan Kirby Wild Turkey Gobble Strength

The pitch of a gobble from different subspecies can be quite different, ranging from 400-4,500 HZ. The Osceola has a gobble ranked 4 out of 5, just behind the Eastern.

The Grand Slam Subspecies of the Wild Turkey

Have you completed a Grand Slam hunt? The “Grand Slam Subspecies of the North American Wild Turkey” by Ryan Kirby celebrates a true American original - the wild turkey. Essential for any turkey hunting enthusiast, this print is perfect for the office, hunting lodge, or mancave.

Ryan Kirby Grand Slam Wild Turkey Print framed

Personalized Osceola Wild Turkey Prints

Whether it’s the people, the location, or the bird, every turkey hunter has a hunt they’ll never forget. Now, you can commemorate that special hunt with the ultimate piece of turkey art! 

Our personalized Wild Turkey prints highlight the unique characteristics of the Eastern, Osceola, Merriam and Rio Grande, and allows you to insert the hunter’s name, harvest date, location, weight, spur size, beard length, and story of the hunt in the “Field Notes” section. You can also have your harvest photo printed directly on the print.


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