Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

The Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) is the most abundant member of the family of guineafowls. The species occurs naturally in wide parts of Africa except for rain forests and deserts. In addition, it has been introduced to the Caribbean, Brazil, southern France, Madagascar, Cape Verde, Arabia, and Australia. The birds are medium-sized and weigh around 1.5 kg. Their most characteristic features are the black plumage with white dots and the bare head with the name-giving bony knob. The colouration of the head can vary considerably from region to region (see photographs). Guineafowls are gregarious, living together in groups of around 25 individuals. They feed mostly on seeds, roots, and fruits, but also catch the occasional snail, insect, milliped, spider, and tick. The birds favor dry open savannahs with few scrubs and trees. They spend most of their time on the ground and prefer to run for cover instead of flying when threatened. The species has been domesticated by humans for several centuries and can be found on the menu of many restaurants in and outside of Africa.

I have photographed these interesting birds in the Etosha National Park of Namibia (February 2007) and in the Pendjari National Park of Benin (February 2012).

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Helmeted Guineafowl in Pendjari National Park, Benin

Helmeted Guineafowl in Pendjari National Park, Benin

2 responses to “Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)

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