The Merriam Wild Turkey has unique coloration. It is black with blue, purple and bronze reflections. White feathers on the lower back and tail feather margins distinguish the Merriam from other subspecies of turkey. Merriam’s appear to have a white rump due to pinkish buff, or whitish tail coverts and tips. The tail feathers are very conspicuous when the gobbler struts against a dark background. Toms have black-tipped breast feathers, while the hens exhibit buff tips.
During spring snow melt they again move up slope following the snow line and breeding activity begins. Toms begin to gobble and form harems. After mating, hens move into denser habitat at higher elevation to lay and incubate eggs. Toms and hens are not usually seen together except during the breeding season which is late March to early June. The onset of breeding is heralded by the commencement of gobbling as the temperatures warm in the spring.