Male turkeys have a long, dark, fan-shaped tail and glossy bronze wings. As with many other species of the Galliformes, turkeys exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. The male is substantially larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, purple, green, copper, bronze, and gold iridescence.
Females, called hens, have feathers that are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray. Parasites can dull coloration of both sexes; in males, coloration may serve as a signal of health. The primary wing feathers have white bars. Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers. 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. Beards average 9 inches in length.
In some populations, 10 to 20 percent of females have a beard, usually shorter and thinner than that of the male. The adult male normally weighs from 11–24 pounds and measures 39–49 in. The adult female is typically much smaller at 5.5–12 lb and is 30–37 in long. The wingspan ranges from 49–57 in. The record-sized adult male Wild Turkey, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation, weighed 38 lb.