The Royal Palm is a strikingly attractive and small-sized turkey variety. The first birds in America to
have the Palm color pattern appeared in a mixed flock of Black, Bronze, Narragansett, and Wild turkeys on the farm of Enoch
Carson of Lake Worth, Florida in the 1920s. Further selection has been made since then to stabilize the consistency of color
and other characteristics. As an anonymous breeder wrote to Feathered World magazine in 1931, “Turkeys of this
type of coloration do crop up by chance where different color varieties are crossed . . . but it takes years to perfect their
markings.” The Royal Palm was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1971. It is similar to a European variety
called the Pied, Crollwitz, or Black-laced White, which has been known since the 1700s.
Royal Palm turkeys are white with a sharply contrasting, metallic black edging on the
feathers. The saddle is black which provides a sharp contrast against the white base color of body plumage. The tail is pure
white, with each feather having a band of black and an edge of white. The coverts are white with a band of black, and the
wings are white with a narrow edge of black across each feather. The breast is white with the exposed portion of each feather
ending in a band of black to form a contrast of black and white similar to the scales of a fish. The turkeys have red to bluish
white heads, a light horn beak, light brown eyes, red to bluish white throat and wattles, and deep pink shanks and toes. The
beard is black.
Royal Palms are active, thrifty turkeys, excellent foragers, and good flyers. Standard
weights are 16 pounds for young toms and 10 pounds for young hens. The Royal Palm has not been purposefully selected for either
growth rate or muscling, being used primarily as an exhibition variety.
The Royal Palm lacks the commercial potential of the other varieties, but it has a role
to play on small farms, for home production of meat or where its ability to control insect pests would be of value.