Narragansett Stag. Photo – Ian Waterman

Origin: North America

Classification: Heavy

The Narragansett turkey is named after the Narragansett Bay region in Rhode Island, USA. It is believed the Narragansett was originally founded through Black turkeys from England being taken to America and breeding with the Eastern Wild turkey. The breed was admitted to the American Standards of Perfection in 1874.

Colour: male

Head: Red, changeable to bluish white.

Beak: Horn.

Eyes: Brown.

Throat-wattle: Red, changeable to bluish white.

Neck: Unexposed part of the feather black, the exposed surface of each feather steel grey approaching white; finishing in a narrow black band across the feather. The band increasing in width as the back is approached.

Back: Rich, metallic black free from any bronze cast. Saddle – black, each feather ending in a broad, steel-grey band going to white, the light band increasing in width as the tail coverts are approached.

Tail: Main tail – dull black, each feather regularly pencilled with parallel lines of tan, ending in a broad band of metallic black, free from bronze cast, edged with steel-grey going to white. Coverts and Lesser Coverts – dull black, each feather regularly pencilled with parallel lines of tan, having a wide band of metallic black – free from bronze cast – extending across it near the end, terminating in a wide edging of light steel-grey approaching white.

Wings: Shoulder and Wing Bow Coverts – light steel-grey ending in a narrow black band. Coverts – a light steel-grey, forming a broad steel-grey band across the wings when folded, feathers terminating in a distinct black band, forming a glossy, ribbon-like mark, which separates them from secondaries. Primaries – each feather, throughout its entire length, alternately crossed with distinct, parallel black and white bars of equal width. Flight Coverts – barred similar to primaries. Secondaries – alternately crossed with distinct parallel black and white bars, the black bar taking on a light steel-grey cast on the shorter top secondaries, the white bar becoming less distinct.

Breast: Unexposed part of each feather black, ending in a broad, light steel-grey band which becomes darker the closer you get to the underbody; each feather ending with a distinct black band, narrow at the throat and becoming wider on the lower breast.

Body and Fluff: Body – dull black, feathers ending with a distinct band of white. Fluff- black, terminating in white.

Legs and Feet: Lower Thighs – intense black edged with light steel-grey. Shanks and Toes – in mature specimens, deep salmon; in young specimens, dark approaching salmon.

Undercolour of all sections: Very dark slate.


Plumage is similar in all sections to the male except that feathers on the back should end with a distinct white edging of medium width, the black edging terminating at cape and breast gradually changing to a white edging, which widens as it approaches the rear.

Standard Weights

Mature stag 14.9kgs (33lbs)

Young stag 10.4kgs (23lbs)

Mature hen 8.1kgs (18lbs)

Young hen 6.3kgs (14lbs)


Wings showing one or more primary or secondary feathers completely black or brown, or absence of white or grey bars more than one-half of the length of primaries; white or grey bars showing on main tail feathers beyond greater main tail coverts, except the terminating wide edging of white. Entire absence of black bands on greater tail coverts. Edging of brown in secondary feathers.

Day-old poults

The head is yellowish grey, mottled with dark brown with three dark streaks, the middle being widest, running from the top of the head down the neck. The upper parts of the body are light greyish brown mottled with very dark brown and the three dark streaks continue along the back to the tail. The underparts of the body are yellowish white to almost white on the surface. Undercolour of body down throughout is a light grey. The shank, legs and feet are the same as the Bronze. Although the breast of a Narragansett poult is paler than in the Bronze it is very difficult to segregate the two varieties accurately until they are around 6 weeks old.