Guineafowl

Guineafowl (/ˈɡɪnifaʊl/; sometimes called "pet speckled hen", or "original fowl") are birds of the family Numididae in the order Galliformes. They are endemic to Africa and rank among the oldest of the gallinaceous birds. Phylogenetically, they branch off from the core Galliformes after the Cracidae and before the Odontophoridae. An Eocene fossil lineage, Telecrex, has been associated with guineafowl. Telecrex inhabited Mongolia, and may have given rise to the oldest of the true Phasianids such as Ithaginis and Crossoptilon, which evolved into high-altitude montane-adapted species with the rise of the Tibetan Plateau. While modern guineafowl species are endemic to Africa, the helmeted guineafowl has been introduced as a domesticated bird widely elsewhere.[1]

Feder1
Feather of a guineafowl
A flock of guineafowl free-roaming on a ranch in Texas (U.S.)
Guineafowl
Numida meleagris -Serengeti National Park, Tanzania-8 (1)
Helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Superfamily: Phasianoidea
Family: Numididae
Longchamps, 1842
Genera

Taxonomy and systematics

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

Image Genus Living Species
Agelastes Bonaparte, 1850
Numida meleagris -Kruger National Park, South Africa-8a Numida Linnaeus, 1764
Flickr - Rainbirder - Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani pucherani) Guttera Wagler, 1832
  • Plumed guineafowl, Guttera plumifera
  • Crested guineafowl, Guttera pucherani
    • Western crested guineafowl, Guttera (pucherani) verreauxi
    • Eastern or Kenya crested guineafowl, Guttera (pucherani) pucherani
    • Southern crested guineafowl, Guttera (pucherani) edouardi
Acryllium vulturinum -Buffalo Springs National Park, Kenya-8 Acryllium G.R. Gray, 1840

Phylogeny

Living Galliformes based on the work by John Boyd.[2]

Numididae (guineafowl)

GutteraGutteraEdouardiDavies

NumidaKeulemans Onze vogels 1 57 white background

AcrylliumAcryllium vulturinum white background

AgelastesAgelastes meleagrides white background

Description

The insect- and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds of this family 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[3] with dense white spots, but both members of the genus Agelastes lack the spots. While several species are relatively well known, the plumed guineafowl and the two members of the genus Agelastes remain relatively poorly known. These large birds measure from 40–71 cm (16–28 inches) in length, and weigh 700–1600 grams or 1.5-3.5 pounds. Guinea hens weigh more than guinea cocks, possibly because of the larger reproductive organs in the female compared to the male guinea fowl. Also, the presence of relatively larger egg clusters in the dual purpose guinea hens may be a factor that contributes to the higher body weight of the guinea hens.[4]

Behavior and ecology

The species for which information is known are normally monogamous, mating for life, or are serially monogamous; however, occasional exceptions have been recorded for helmeted and Kenya crested guineafowl, which have been reported to be polygamous in captivity.[5] All guineafowl are social, and typically live in small groups or large flocks. Though they are monogamous, species of the least-derived genera Guttera, Agelastes and Acryllium tend toward social polyandry, a trait shared with other primitive galliformes like roul roul, and Congo peafowl.

Guineafowl travel behind herd animals and beneath monkey troops where they forage within manure and on items that have fallen to the understory from the canopy. Guineafowl play a pivotal role in the control of ticks, flies, locusts, scorpions and other invertebrates. They pluck maggots from carcasses and manure.

Wild guineafowl are strong fliers. Their breast muscles are dark, enabling them to sustain themselves in flight for considerable distances if hard-pressed. Grass and bush fires are a constant threat to these galliformes and flight is the most effective escape.

Some species of guineafowl, like the vulturine, may go without drinking water for extended periods, instead sourcing their moisture from their food. Young guineafowl are very sensitive to weather, in particular cold temperatures.

Each gender has a different call which can be used to differentiate between female and male. [6]

Distribution and habitat

Guineafowl species are found across sub-Saharan Africa, some almost in the entire range, others more localized, such as the plumed guineafowl in west-central Africa and the vulturine guineafowl in north-east Africa. They live in semi-open habitats such as savanna or semideserts, while some, such as the black guineafowl, mainly inhabit forests. Some perch high on treetops.

The helmeted guinea fowl has been introduced in East Africa, the West Indies, the United States, Britain, and India, where it is raised as food or pets.[7]

Guineafowl as food

Guineafowl meat is drier and leaner than chicken meat and has a gamey flavour. It has marginally more protein than chicken or turkey, roughly half the fat of chicken and slightly fewer calories per gram.[8] Their eggs are substantially richer than those of chickens.[9]

References

  1. ^ Lever, Christopher (2005). Naturalised Birds of the World. London, United Kingdom: T & A D Poyser. pp. 24–26. ISBN 978-0-7136-7006-6.
  2. ^ John Boyd's website Boyd, John (2007). "GALLIFORMES - Landfowl". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Guinea Fowl - Missouri". Cub Creek Science and Animal Camp. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  4. ^ RossHeywood. "Penny the Silkie Bantam with her two foster Guinea Fowls". Rumble.
  5. ^ (Madge and McGowan, p. 345–352)
  6. ^ "Guinea Hen: All You Need To Know (Complete Care Guide)". www.thehappychickencoop.com.
  7. ^ "Guinea Fowl: Your Overlooked Backyard Buddy - Modern Farmer". modernfarmer.com. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  8. ^ USDA handbook #8 and circular #549, leclercq 1985
  9. ^ http://www.gov.bw/Global/MOA/Guinea%20Fowl%20Production.pdf

Further reading

  • Madge and McGowan, Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse. ISBN 0-7136-3966-0
  • Martínez, I. (1994). "Family Numididae (Guineafowl)", p. 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 84-87334-15-6

External links

Agelastes

Agelastes is a small genus of birds in the guineafowl family. It comprises two species:

White-breasted guineafowl, A. meleagrides

Black guineafowl, A. niger

Arothron meleagris

Arothron meleagris, commonly known as the guineafowl puffer or golden puffer, is a pufferfish from the Indo-Pacific, and Eastern Pacific. It is occasionally harvested for the aquarium trade. It reaches 50 cm in length.

Guineafowl puffers have heavy rounded bodies that are uniformly black with numerous small white spots (black puffer or botete negro), bright yellow spots (golden puffer or botete dorado) or a mixture of the two morphologies with bright yellow spots and black patches. They have large blunt heads with short snouts and are equipped with a set of massive teeth. They have small and similarly shaped anal and dorsal fins that are well back on their body. Their caudal fin base is long and deep and their caudal fin is rounded. Their body is covered with small denticles that resemble coarse sandpaper.

When this fish is scared or frightened, they inflate and make themselves larger, exposing the denticles.

Black guineafowl

The black guineafowl (Agelastes niger) is a member of the guineafowl bird family. It occurs in humid forests in Central Africa, where it is often heard, but seldom seen. It is a medium-sized black bird with a bare, pink head and upper neck. Little is known of its behaviour.

Crested guineafowl

The crested guineafowl (Guttera pucherani) is a member of the Numididae, the guineafowl bird family. It is found in open forest, woodland and forest-savanna mosaics in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Domestic guineafowl

Domestic guineafowl, sometimes called pintades, pearl hen, or gleanies, are poultry originating from Africa. They are the domesticated form of the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) and are related to other game birds such as the pheasants, turkeys and partridges. Although the timing of their domestication is unknown, there is evidence that domestic guineafowl were present in Greece by the 5th century BC.

They lay 25–30 eggs in a deep, tapering nest. Their eggs are small, dark and extremely thick-shelled. The hens have a habit of hiding their nests, and sharing it with other hens until large numbers of eggs have accumulated. The incubation period is 26–28 days, and the chicks are called "keets". As keets, they are highly susceptible to dampness (they are indigenous to the more arid regions of Africa) and can die from following the mother through dewy grass. After their first two to six weeks of growth, though, they can be some of the hardiest domestic land fowl.

Sexing the birds is not as simple as telling a rooster from a hen chicken. When they are adults, the helmet and wattles of the male are larger than those of the female (Guinea-hen), and only the female makes the two-note cry imitated as "Buck-wheat!" or "Pot-rack!" while the male only has a one-note cry. Aside from that, though, the two sexes are mostly identical in appearance.

As domestics, guineafowl are valuable pest controllers, eating many insects. They are especially beneficial in controlling the Lyme disease-carrying deer tick, as well as wasp nests. While they are rarely kept in large numbers, a few are sometimes kept with other fowl to be used as a security system against birds of prey. They will call with their loud, high shrieking voices if concerned about intruders. They are highly social birds and tend to languish when alone.

Within the domesticated species, many color variations have been bred forth aside from the "pearl" or natural color of the helmeted guinea. These include white, purple, slate, chocolate, lavender, coral blue, bronze, pewter, buff dundotte, blonde, and various pieds.

It can be cooked using any recipe that calls for chicken, but is considered to be more flavorful and, because of its higher cost, is generally served at special occasions. It is particularly common in French and Italian recipes.

Galliformes

Galliformes is an order of heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds that includes turkey, grouse, chicken, New World quail and Old World quail, ptarmigan, partridge, pheasant, francolin, junglefowl and the Cracidae. The name derives from "gallus", Latin for "cock" or "rooster". Common names are gamefowl or gamebirds, landfowl, gallinaceous birds, or galliforms. "Wildfowl" or just "fowl" are also often used for the Galliformes, but usually these terms also refer to waterfowl (Anseriformes), and occasionally to other commonly hunted birds. This group has about 290 species, one or more of which are found in essentially every part of the world's continents (except for the innermost deserts and perpetual ice). They are rarer on islands, and in contrast to the closely related waterfowl, are essentially absent from oceanic islands—unless introduced there by humans. Several species have been domesticated during their long and extensive relationships with humans.

This order contains five families: Phasianidae (including chicken, quail, partridges, pheasants, turkeys, peafowl and grouse), Odontophoridae (New World quails), Numididae (guineafowl), Cracidae (including chachalacas and curassows), and Megapodiidae (incubator birds like mallee fowl and brush-turkeys). They are important as seed dispersers and predators in the ecosystems they inhabit, and are often reared as game birds by humans for their meat and eggs and for recreational hunting. Many gallinaceous species are skilled runners and escape predators by running rather than flying. Males of most species are more colorful than the females. Males often have elaborate courtship behaviors that include strutting, fluffing of tail or head feathers, and vocal sounds. They are mainly nonmigratory.

Guineafowl (disambiguation)

Guineafowl are birds of the family Numididae, including:

Black guineafowl (Agelastes niger)

Crested guineafowl (Guttera pucherani)

Domesticated guineafowl

Helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris)

Plumed guineafowl (Guttera plumifera)

Vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum)

White-breasted guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides)Guineafowl may also refer to:

Arothron meleagris, the guineafowl pufferfish

Hamanumida daedalus, the guineafowl butterfly

Guttera

Guttera is a genus of birds in the Numididae family. Established by Johann Georg Wagler in 1832, it contains two species:

Plumed guineafowl, Guttera plumifera

Crested guineafowl, Guttera pucheraniThe name Guttera is a combination of the Latin words gutta, meaning "spot" and -fera, meaning "bearing" (from ferre: to bear).The two species are found in forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike other guineafowl, they have a distinctive black crest.

Hamanumida daedalus

Hamanumida daedalus, the guineafowl butterfly, is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae and only member of the genus Hamanumida.

Handbook of the Birds of the World

The Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) is a multi-volume series produced by the Spanish publishing house Lynx Edicions in partnership with BirdLife International. It is the first handbook to cover every known living species of bird. The series is edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal and David A. Christie.

All 16 volumes have been published. For the first time an animal class will have all the species illustrated and treated in detail in a single work. This has not been done before for any other group in the animal kingdom.

Material in each volume is grouped first by family, with an introductory article on each family; this is followed by individual species accounts (taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, food and feeding, breeding, movements, status and conservation, bibliography). In addition, all volumes except the first and second contain an essay on a particular ornithological theme. More than 200 renowned specialists and 35 illustrators (including Toni Llobet, Hilary Burn, Chris Rose and H. Douglas Pratt) from more than 40 countries have contributed to the project up to now, as well as 834 photographers from all over the world.

Since the first volume appeared in 1992, the series has received various international awards. The first volume was selected as Bird Book of the Year by the magazines Birdwatch and British Birds, and the fifth volume was recognised as Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine, the American Library Association magazine. The seventh volume, as well as being named Bird Book of the Year by Birdwatch and British Birds, also received the distinction of Best Bird Reference Book in the 2002 WorldTwitch Book Awards This same distinction was also awarded to Volume 8 a year later in 2003.Individual volumes are large, measuring 32 by 25 centimetres (12.6 by 9.8 in), and weighing between 4 and 4.6 kilograms (8.8 and 10.1 lb); it has been commented in a review that "fork-lift truck book" would be a more appropriate title.

As a complement to the Handbook of the Birds of the World and with the ultimate goal of disseminating knowledge about the world's avifauna, in 2002 Lynx Edicions started the Internet Bird Collection (IBC). It is a free-access, but not free-licensed, on-line audiovisual library of the world's birds with the aim of posting videos, photos and sound recordings showing a variety of biological aspects (e.g. subspecies, plumages, feeding, breeding, etc.) for every species. It is a non-profit endeavour fuelled by material from more than one hundred contributors from around the world.

In early 2013, Lynx Edicions launched the online database HBW Alive, which includes the volume and family introductions and updated species accounts from all 17 published HBW volumes. Since its launch, the taxonomy has been thoroughly revised and updated twice (once for non-passerines and once for passerines), following the publication of the two volumes of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.

The Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive site also provides a free access 'Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology'.

Helmeted guineafowl

The helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) is the best known of the guineafowl bird family, Numididae, and the only member of the genus Numida. It is native to Africa, mainly south of the Sahara, and has been widely introduced into the West Indies, Brazil, Australia and Europe (e.g. southern France).

List of birds of North America (Galliformes)

The birds listed below all belong to the biological order Galliformes, and are native to North America.

List of domesticated meat animals

The following is a list of animals that are or may have been raised in captivity for consumption by people. For other animals commonly eaten by people, see Game (food).

Locrio

A locrio is a rice dish from the Dominican Republic. Similar to pilaf and paella, it consists of seasoned rice with some kind of meat, such as chicken, Dominican salami or pork, but no beef.

Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of heavy, ground-living birds, which includes pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, chickens, turkeys, Old World quail, and peafowl. The family includes many of the most popular gamebirds. The family is a large one, and is occasionally broken up into two subfamilies, the Phasianinae, and the Perdicinae. Sometimes, additional families and birds are treated as part of this family. For example, the American Ornithologists' Union includes the Tetraonidae (grouse), Numididae (guineafowl), and Meleagrididae (turkeys) as subfamilies in Phasianidae.

Plumed guineafowl

The plumed guineafowl (Guttera plumifera) is a member of the guineafowl bird family. It is found in humid primary forest in Central Africa. It resembles some subspecies of the crested guineafowl, but has a straighter (not curled) and higher crest, and a relatively long wattle on either side of the bill. The bare skin on the face and neck is entirely dull grey-blue in the western nominate subspecies, while there are a few orange patches among the grey-blue in the eastern subspecies schubotzi.

Poultry show

A poultry show is a specific subset of a livestock show that involves the exhibition and competition of exhibition poultry, which may include chickens, domestic ducks, domestic geese, domestic guineafowl and domestic turkey. Domestic pigeon are also exhibited but not universally considered poultry. As well as being independent events, they are also sometimes held in conjunction with agricultural shows.

Vulturine guineafowl

The vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) is the largest extant species of guineafowl. Systematically, it is only distantly related to other guineafowl genera. Its closest living relative, the white breasted guineafowl, Agelastes meleagrides inhabit primary forests in Central Africa. It is a member of the bird family Numididae, and is the only member of the genus Acryllium. It is a resident breeder in northeast Africa, from southern Ethiopia through Kenya and just into northern Tanzania.

White-breasted guineafowl

The white-breasted guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides) is a medium-sized, up to 45 cm long, terrestrial bird of the guineafowl family. It has a black plumage with a small, bare, red head, white breast, long, black tail, greenish-brown bill, and greyish feet. The sexes are similar, although the female is slightly smaller than the male.

The white-breasted guineafowl is distributed in subtropical West African forests of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Its diet consists mainly of seeds, berries, termites, and small animals.

Due to ongoing habitat loss and hunting in some areas, the white-breasted guineafowl is rated as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

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