Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Birds

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: helmeted guineafowl
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Galliformes
FAMILY: Phasianidae
GENUS SPECIES: Numida (old Roman name for northwest Africa) meleagris (guinea-fowl)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: The head and neck of the helmeted guineafowl are bare, but there may be a wattle. The bill is short and stout; the body is stocky and black and dotted uniformly with white spots; and the wings are medium sized and rounded.
MALE The wattle on the male is much larger than on the female.
SIZE: Approximately 42.5-47.5 cm (17-19 in) long
WEIGHT: Up to 1.8 kg (4 lbs)
DIET: Includes seeds, roots, tubers, grubs, rodents, small reptiles, and crawling insects; occasionally feeds on vegetation and fruits
INCUBATION: 26-28 days
CLUTCH SIZE 7-20 eggs
FLEDGING DURATION 10 weeks
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 2 years
LIFE SPAN: Approximately 15 years
RANGE: Madagascar, Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda
HABITAT: Inhabits forest, brush, and grassland
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. The helmeted guineafowl is capable of strong flight, but it is mainly terrestrial often choosing to run rather than fly. It typically roosts in trees.
2. Pairs remain monogamous. This diurnal bird calls with a rasping, stuttering, grating "keerrrr". Lives in flocks of up to hundreds of birds, and forages on open ground.
3. Guineafowl are both monomorphic and monochromatic - meaning both sexes look and act alike.
4. Guineafowl are found in Greek mythology. Meleagros was the son of Oeneus, king of Calydon. According to legend, upon his death, his sisters were transformed to guineafowl.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

The ancient Romans domesticated guineafowl for food. These birds are still kept domestically and also hunted today.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Delacour, J. The Pheasants of the World. 2nd ed. World Pheasant Association and Spur Publications, Hindhead, U.K.  1977.

Perrins, Dr. C. M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1990.

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