The characters and limitations of this group have already been set forth, the first of the four subfamilies into which it is divided comprising the Turkeys (Subfamily Meleagrince).
Notwithstanding the obvious implication involved in the name, the Turkeys are all natives of the New World, and the manner in which this popular designation came to be applied has long been and indeed still is a mystery, though it has been suggested that it was given in imitation of their call note, likened to the syllables turk, turk, turk. In some equally unexplained manner it appears that they were confused with the African Guinea-Fowl by the early writers, even the great Linnaeus falling into this error. So, also, the date in which they were introduced into the Old World is largely a matter of speculation, though it had certainly been accomplished by 1530, and very probably somewhat earlier. It is more than likely that there were several, perhaps approximately simultaneous, importations, since at least two of the races seem to have been early present, at least in England.