Twenty-one randomly selected clones from a turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) pituitary complementary DNA (cDNA) library were sequenced to develop expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for this economically important avian species whose genome is among the least understood. Primers specific for the ESTs were used to produce amplicons from the genomic DNA of turkey, chicken (Gallus gallus), guinea fowl (Numidia meleagris), pigeon (Columba domestica), and quail (Corturnix japonica). The amplicons were sequenced and analyzed for sequence variation within-and similarity among-species and with GenBank database sequences. The proportion of shared bases between the turkey sequence and the consensus sequence from each of the other species ranged from 72% to 93% between turkey and pigeon and quail and between turkey and chicken, respectively. The total number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) observed ranged from 3 in quail to 18 in chicken out of 4898 and 5265 bases analyzed, respectively. The most frequent nucleotide variation observed was a C→T transition. Linkage analysis of one such SNP in the backcross progeny of the East Lansing reference DNA panel, localized TUS0005, the chicken sequence derived from primers specific for turkey TUT2E EST, to chromosome 4. The ESTs reported, as well as the SNPs may provide a useful resource for on-going efforts to develop high utility genome maps for the turkey and chicken. The primers described can also be used as a tool in future investigations directed at further understanding the biology of the guinea fowl, pigeon and quail and their relatedness to the turkey.