Guineafowl: Wikis

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For the guineafowl butterflies, see Hamanumida.
Guineafowl
Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Numididae
de Sélys Longchamps, 1842
Genera

The guineafowl (sometimes called guineahen) are a family of birds in the Galliformes order, although some authorities (for example the American Ornithologists' Union) include the guineafowl as a subfamily, Numidinae, of the family Phasianidae. The guineafowl are native to Africa, but the Helmeted Guineafowl has been domesticated and both feral and wild-type birds have been introduced elsewhere.

Contents

Description and ecology

This is a family of insect and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds that resemble partridges, but with featherless heads, though both members of the genus Guttera have a distinctive black crest, and the Vulturine Guineafowl has a downy brown patch on the nape. Most species of guineafowl have a dark grey or blackish plumage with dense white spots, but both members of the genus Agelastes lack the spots (as do some domestic variants of the Helmeted Guineafowl). While several species are relatively well known, the Plumed Guineafowl and the two members of the genus Agelastes remain relatively poorly known.

The species for which the information is known are normally monogamous, mating for life. However, occasional bigamy has been recorded for the Helmeted Guineafowl (Madge and McGowan, p345-352). All guineafowl are social, and typically occur in small groups.

They are large birds which measure from 40-71 cm in length, and weigh 700-1600 g.

The Helmeted and Vulturine Guineafowl generally occur in open or semi-open habitats such as savanna or semi-deserts, while the remaining species of guineafowl mainly occur in forests.

The Helmeted Guineafowl has been domesticated and introduced outside its natural range, for example in southern France (where they are known as Pintade), the West Indies, and the United States.

List of species in taxonomic order

This is a list of guineafowl species, presented in taxonomic order.

Domesticated guinea fowl

Guineafowl have a long history of domestication, mainly involving the Helmeted Guineafowl; in the UK they were usually known as "Gleanies". The young (called "keets") are very small at birth. The keets are kept in a brooder box inside the house until about six weeks of age, before being moved into a proper coop or enclosure. They eat lice, worms, ants, spiders, weedseeds, and ticks while on range or they can also eat chicken layer crumbles (one kind of commercial bird food) while housed in a coop. The cooked flesh of guineafowl resembles chicken in texture, with a flavour somewhere between chicken and turkey.

References

  • Madge and McGowan, Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse. ISBN 0-7136-3966-0
  • Martínez, I. (1994). "Family Numididae (Guineafowl)". Pp.554-570 in; del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 2. New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 8487334156

External links

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Simple English

Guineafowl
File:Helmeted guineafowl
Helmeted Guineafowl, Numida meleagris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Numididae
de Sélys Longchamps, 1842
Genera
  • Agelastes
  • Numida
  • Guttera
  • Acryllium

The Guineafowl are a family of birds. It is in the same order as the pheasants, turkeys and other game birds. Guineafowl are native to the dry arid areas of Africa. They are now bred for meat especially in India.[1]

Description

Guineafowl are chicken-like African birds. They include the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris). It has a horny growth on the head, white-spotted feathers, and fleshy cheek wattles (loose folds of skin). It is the ancestor of the domestic guinea fowl. Guinea fowl mostly eat things found on the ground. They eat insects, leaves, and snails. At night, they roost in trees.

References

See also


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