Helmeted Guineafowl Helmeted Guineafowl
Helmeted Guineafowl

Scientific Classification

Common Name
helmeted guineafowl
Genus Species
Numida (old Roman name for northwest Africa) meleagris (guinea-fowl)

Fast Facts

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. The wattle on the male is much larger than on the female.
Approximately 42.5 to 47.5 cm (17 to 19 in.) in length
Up to 1.8 kg (4 lbs.)
Their diet includes seeds, roots, tubers, grubs, rodents, small reptiles, crawling insects and occasionally vegetation and fruits.
26 to 28 days
Clutch Size
7 to 20 eggs
Fledging Duration
10 weeks
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 2 years
Life Span
Approximately 15 years
The helmented guineafowl has a large range that extends over much of Africa, encompassing Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
Inhabits forest, brush, and grassland
Global: Their overall population is unknown.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

The helmeted guineafowl is capable of strong flight, but it is mainly terrestrial often choosing to run rather than fly. They typically roosts in trees.

This diurnal bird calls with a rasping, stuttering, grating "keerrrr." Lives in flocks of up to hundreds of birds, and forages on open ground.

Helmeted guineafowl are both monomorphic and monochromatic meaning that both males and females are similar in size, appearance and color.

These birds tend to form breeding pairs that are highly monogamous.

Guineafowl are mentioned in Greek mythology. Meleagros was the son of Oeneus, King of Calydon. According to legend, upon his death, his sisters were transformed into guineafowl.

Ecology and Conservation

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

Their overall population appears to be stable and is not severely fragmented


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.


BirdLife International. 2016. Numida meleagris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679555A92818848. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679555A92818848.en/. Downloaded on 12 November 2018.