Helmeted Guineafowl

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Numida meleagris

DIETInsects, roots, seeds, and sedge tuber

RANGECentral and southern Africa

HABITATShrublands, grasslands, deserts, savannas, and forests

Helmeted Guineafowl

Physical Description

Helmeted guineafowl average 18 inches long and 20-25 inches tall. Their beaks have a wattle on either side, and they have a horny helmet on top of their head. Their feathers have a dark background and white spots which gives it a bead-like design.


Predators

Predators they may encounter include hawks, owls, and other carnivores.


Lifespan

In human care, they live an average of 6-12 years.


Reproduction

During the breeding season, males will court females by displaying and making food offerings and will also become aggressive toward other males. Once they form a pair, males will defend their female from other males and predators. They will then build a nest, and the female will lay 6-12 eggs. She incubates the eggs for 24-27 days. Parents defend their keets, or hatchlings, until they are able to defend themselves at about 1-3 months old, and then they will rejoin their flock.


Fun Facts

  • For most of the year, helmeted guineafowl live in large flocks of several hundred to 2,000 individuals, but during the breeding season, the herd disbands into monogamous breeding pairs and groups of non-breeding individuals.
  • While they are able to fly, this species prefers to spend most of their time on the ground and are considered ground scavengers.

Conservation Messaging

Helmeted guineafowl are native to Africa but are commonly kept on farms and ranches around the world. They’re great at keeping pesky insect populations under control! It’s always best to do your research before moving forward with purchasing any new animals because they may have special needs and different requirements. It’s also important to consider that exotic animals such as guineafowl may need a specialized veterinarian to provide adequate medical care.

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