Geek Trivia

In The Country Of Turkey, The Bird Known In The U.S. As A Turkey Is Called?

Dutch Chicken
Roman Rooster
Hindi Bird
French Chicken
In Back To The Future, The Time Machine Was Originally Slated To Be A?

Answer: Hindi Bird

If ever there was a case of confused point of origin in the animal kingdom, the humble turkey is it. There are several types of turkey, all native to the Americas, with the wild turkey (the same species as the domestic turkey) being the most famous since it is the variety found in North American forests and served by the millions every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners across the United States.

When European explorers first encountered wild turkeys in their exploration of North America, they bestowed the name “turkey” upon them because they incorrectly identified them as a type of guinea fowl like the ones commonly found in Europe. Those guinea fowls were popularly known as “turkey coqs” to the Europeans because the majority of the birds imported to Europe were brought there by trade routes that passed through the area/country of Turkey. The mistaken name was only the beginning of a long process of the poor turkey being misidentified. As turkeys were brought from North America to other regions of the world, each new region they arrived in had a strong tendency to assign their origin to somewhere exotic (typically associating the bird with whatever colonial entity introduced the bird to the region).

In Cambodia and Greece, the bird is known as a “French Chicken or French Bird”. In many Arabic-speaking countries, it is known as a “Roman/Greek/Byzantine/Ethiopian Rooster or Chicken”. In Malaysia, it’s known as a “Dutch Chicken”. In Turkey, the actual namesake of the bird as used by North Americans, the bird is known as a “Hindi” bird, alluding to its origin in India. In fact, the bird is called Indian, from India or some variant thereof in Armenia, France, Georgia, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.

Image courtesy of Yathin S Krishnappa.