The Black Spanish Turkey is a heritage breed whose lineage can actually be traced back to Mexican Turkeys. These birds were taken back to Europe in the 1500s. Black Spanish Turkeys, as they were called in Spain, were brought back to North America with the colonists. In North America, they were crossed with the Eastern Wild Turkey to form today’s Black Spanish Turkey.
The Black Spanish Turkey’s presence in the meat market has dwindled with the rise of the Broad Breasted Commercial Breeds. But a recent revival of sustainable agriculture and free range turkey production has helped the numbers of the Black Spanish Turkey recover in the 21st century.
The Black Spanish Turkey is still listed as “critical” in its population status. With the help of heritage turkey breeders, this personable and wonderful heritage breed will soon be less threatened.