Bird Families

Guinea fowl


Reproduction of guinea fowl falls during the rainy season. She arranges a nest in the form of a hole in the soil, somewhere under a bush or in tall grass. Clutch consists of 5-8 and sometimes more dirty yellowish-white eggs. Incubation lasts about 25 days. The hatched chicks soon leave the nest and for the first time, together with their parents, stay in the immediate vicinity. Along with the female, the male also takes part in raising the chicks.

Guinea fowl feeds on mixed food. During the breeding season, insects are the main food of the common guinea fowl. Later, the common guinea fowl eats berries, leaves, buds, sprouts of cereals and all kinds of grains. Guinea fowl breeding has been seriously engaged in the last half century, several varieties of this bird have been bred. These birds lay delicious eggs and make a good roast. One hen lays 100-150 eggs per year.

Scientific classification

Other animals of the "Chicken" squad

Zoo ticket:

  • 500 RUB - adult,
  • RUB 350 - preferential (for children from 5 to 14 years old, pensioners, inv. III group, full-time students), RUB 1 - pensioners over 70 years old,
  • RUB 200 - complex "Amazonia",
  • Is free (with a certificate) - for the following categories of citizens

LLC "Zoo" Limpopo "

We are located at:

603035 N. Novgorod, st. Yaroshenko, 7 "B"

Contact Information:

Travel to the zoo by car

Our parking is located directly in front of the entrance to the zoo

How to get to the zoo by public transport

In a 3-minute walking distance from the park there are stops:

  • Stop "Zoo" Limpopo "

Route taxi number 21

  • Stop "Chernyakhovsky Street"

  • In 5 minutes walking distance there is a bus stop "Sormovsky Park of Culture":

Common guinea fowl

  • Superclass Tetrapoda Class Birds Aves
  • Order Chicken - Galliformes
  • Family Guinea fowl - Numididae
  • Genus Guinea fowl - Numida

The common guinea fowl -Numida meleagris is the only representative of the monotypic genus Numida, (the old name is Numida ptilorhynca), domesticated by humans. They are characterized by a horn-like process on the crown of the head and red fleshy beards. In East Africa, they are called kanga (Swahili kanga, or khanga), in South Africa they are also called genephala (Afrikaans).

The common guinea fowl is distinguished by a more or less naked head with various outgrowths or appendages, a slightly hooked, laterally compressed beak of moderate size, short, rounded wings and a short tail covered with cover feathers.

It has a fleshy horn at the crown and red fleshy processes (barbs) at the base of the lower jaw. The bare upper part of the chest and the back of the head are purple.

The plumage is of a uniform dark gray color with white round spots bordered by dark rims.

Distributed in Africa (south of the Sahara Desert) and on the island of Madagascar.

The homeland of the domesticated common guinea fowl is West and Central-South Africa. In ancient times, the domestic guinea fowl came from Africa to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

Guinea fowls are close relatives of domestic chickens, turkeys and quails. The homeland of guinea fowls is Africa, but they feel great in various regions of Russia when kept both indoors and out and even in cages. They get sick much less often than chickens and other birds. They lead a gregarious life, get along well with the inhabitants of the yard. They run fast and can even take off, therefore, in adults, flight feathers on one of the wings are cut by 5-6 cm.

Guinea fowls are bred to obtain dietary meat, high-quality eggs, as well as to combat pests: worms, slugs, insects (including the Colorado potato beetle). The meat of this poultry tastes like game, contains less water and fat than chicken, in terms of nutritional value and other biological indicators, it is considered the best of poultry meat. Abroad, prices for guinea fowl are 1.5-3 times higher than for chickens. Guinea fowl eggs are light brown in color, somewhat smaller than chicken eggs, weigh 43-48 g, have a characteristic pear-shaped shape, their shells are thick and very strong. They withstand transportation and long-term (up to six months) storage at temperatures from 0 to + 10 ° C. Their yolk also contains more than chicken solids, vitamin A and carotenoids, they are tastier, do not cause allergies in children and adults.

Origin of the species and description

Guinea fowl is a member of the Guinea fowl family (order of Chicken-like), an African bird that is alternatively housed in the Fazanov family. This small and hardy bird is related to chicken and partridge. The family consists of 7-10 species, one of which, the common guinea fowl, is widely domesticated and lives as a “watchdog” on farms (it makes loud sounds at the slightest alarm).

Video: Guinea fowl

Interesting fact: The largest and most colorful species of guinea fowl is the vulture guinea fowl from east Africa - a bird with a long neck and feathers of long lance-like feathers striped in black, white and blue, which has red eyes and a naked blue head.

In Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, these birds were imported and were great favorites of the nobility. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the popularity of the bird faded with it. It was only in the sixteenth century that the Portuguese, who by that time had conquered Guinea, introduced the guinea fowl to France. In France, guinea fowl is eaten so often that it is called the "Sunday bird".

In Europe, the annual consumption of guinea fowl is about 100 million birds. In the New World, guinea fowl first appeared in Haiti. It is believed that they were transported alive, in cages, on ships carrying African slaves.

Appearance and features

Photo: What a guinea fowl looks like

Wild forms are known as guinea fowls because of their large bony crest. The guinea fowl has many native species, widespread in the savannas and shrubs of Africa, which have been introduced to the West Indies and elsewhere.

About 50 cm long, the typical guinea fowl has a bare face, brown eyes, red and blue beards on its beak, black plumage with white spots, and a hunched posture. They live in flocks and walk on the ground, feeding on seeds, tubers and some insects. When anxious birds run, but when pushed off the ground, they fly on short, rounded wings for a short distance.

At night they sleep in trees. Guinea fowls are noisy birds that make harsh, repetitive sounds. The nest is a depression in the ground that is sparsely covered with vegetation. It contains about 12 finely colored brown eggs, which require about 30 days of incubation. Young fluffy individuals are active immediately after hatching and accompany their parents.

Distinctive features of females and males are as follows:

  • males have stronger features - usually a large “cap” and beard, and the bridge over the upper part of the nostrils is more noticeable than in females, after a few months, when they are fully grown,
  • males make one sound, females two. Both birds - but usually males - make one syllable, a very sharp knock, but females can also make two syllables. They find their voices around the 8th week,
  • females have broader pelvic bones. If you can catch them, check their pelvic bones - when the bird is lying, its pelvic bones will be 1-1.5 cm apart, while in males they will be 1 cm less.

Where does the guinea fowl live?

Photo: African Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowls are a group of wild and domesticated birds. Their natural range is found in most of Africa. Today these birds are raised on farms around the world for their meat and eggs.

The guinea fowl is adapted to wandering in any habitat. Most of them prefer meadows, thorns and farmland. They live well in open areas. They are not migratory birds, but move more during breeding.

There are several types of guinea fowl:

  • Guinea fowl Numida meleagris is the main species from which the domesticated guinea fowl originated. The natural habitat of this guinea fowl is grasslands and shrubs in sub-Saharan Africa. This bird has a large bony "helmet" curved backwards on its head,
  • The vulture guinea fowl (Acryllium vulturinum) is the largest and most striking species of guinea fowl. This bird, which is found in pastures in eastern Africa, has a longer neck, legs and tail than other guinea fowls. She also has beautiful blue feathers on her chest,
  • white-breasted guinea fowl (Agelastes meleagrides) is a bird that lives in the forests of West Africa. She has mostly black feathers, except for a bright white chest,
  • feathered sea guinea fowl (Guttera plumifera) and crested sea guinea fowl (Guttera pucherani) have tufts of black feathers on their heads,
  • black guinea fowl (Agelastes niger) is completely black except for the bare head.

What does guinea fowl eat?

Photo: Guinea fowl bird

Guinea fowl has an incredibly keen sense of smell and can easily spot bugs, insects and other critters in the garden. Guinea fowls tend to prey on insects that live close to the surface, on the top of the grass, or on the branches and leaves of some plants. Guinea fowls will quickly catch these creepy crawlers and eat them in minutes. Chicks are less likely to hide under grass or soil to find their prey. However, gradually a flock of guinea fowls will be able to control the situation with insects in the garden.

Guinea fowls occasionally peck and destroy smaller seedlings, but it makes sense to allow the flock to patrol the more established orchards. After all, guinea fowl is arguably the best natural way to prevent the nasty insects that can spoil fresh spring greens.

That being said, if you've recently planted your precious crops and are waiting for them to grow big and strong, you shouldn't leave the guinea fowl in your garden. Wait for your plants to become more resilient in spring and summer, otherwise your guinea fowl may end up destroying the garden without thinking about it.

Interesting fact: One fun insect-killing trick to try at home is to mow the lawn while the guinea fowl grazes on the grass. Some guinea fowls will realize that the lawnmower is pushing different types of crawlers to the top of the earth, attacking and destroying these little animals.

Guinea fowls prefer to hunt insects in a large group, but sometimes they are divided into smaller groups. However, guinea fowl tend to keep the entire herd in sight, as deep down they are team players who love to stick together until the very end.

There are very few beetles and pests that the guinea fowl will not enjoy in your garden. From the smallest ants to the most formidable spiders, the guinea fowl won't hesitate to eat all these creepy little critters.

Favorite delicacies of guinea fowl are:

  • tics,
  • grasshoppers,
  • ants,
  • other insects.

Features of character and lifestyle

Photo: Guinea fowl in flight

Guinea fowls usually spend the night in trees to avoid attacks by predators. Adult males groom themselves during community gatherings and take dust baths in the soil. At quieter times of the day, these birds rest under cover. Females are mainly responsible for choosing the nesting site. They usually just peel off branches and grasses and line nests with soft plant material and feathers. These nests will always be hidden.

Guinea fowls live in large communities and are very social. Males dominate the community and regulate their differences by chasing each other. In the end, the male with the highest stamina and physical fitness claims the top spot in the group.

Interestingly, both genders will fight for territory in the community. The males guard the eggs before incubation, but will leave as soon as the incubation period begins in search of other females. They will then return as soon as the eggs hatch.

Interesting fact: The male plays an important role in the training of the chicks. If he does not return, many chicks will die as the mother will not have enough time to care for them and herself after the incubation period. In large communities, chicks are sometimes bred by different parents.

Guinea fowls are pack creatures by nature and it is very important to keep at least two of them together. If the guinea fowl feels isolated and lonely, it will most likely try to escape. Make sure that your guinea fowl has a company, otherwise you will not be able to keep it for a long time.

Guinea fowls do not always get along with other birds. They can intimidate chickens and do not always like newbies, even of the same species. They have a very low tolerance for roosters and often drive away birds they don't like.

Keeping your guinea fowl safe is an important step when adding them to your herd. These birds are famous for their noise when they sense danger nearby. They also make noise when people approach them.

Social structure and reproduction

Guinea fowls lay eggs only when conditions are favorable for this. They prefer warm and dry conditions, which means they can be stored for longer periods in the Australian climate. Although guinea fowl eggs are a good substitute for chicken eggs, they unfortunately produce fewer than 100 eggs per year. But what they lack in eggs, they make up for pest control.

Male and male guinea fowls are generally monogamous, which means that they mate with each other for life and mate without others. However, in some species, the male may mate with more than one female. When the male is grooming the female, his body assumes a "hunchback pose" when he flaunts in front of her. The male can also snuggle up to the back when meeting with a female friend.

The female usually lays a clutch of 12-15 small dark eggs in a nest dug in the ground, which can be hidden among weeds or some other shelter. Some clutches can contain up to 30 eggs. Guinea fowl eggs are incubated (left to warm) for about 26 or 28 days before young chicks hatch. Both parents care for the chicks equally. For the first few weeks of life, chicks must remain warm and dry, or they may die. However, when they are several weeks old, they become very hardy birds.

On farms, newly hatched chicks are usually kept in an incubator, which is a box with a heating lamp, for about 6 weeks - until they are completely covered in feathers. Young birds then usually move to the safe area of ​​the nursery, where they are introduced to the older birds in the flock when protected by a wire fence. After a few weeks in the nursery, they are released into the main herd.

Now you know how to breed and keep guinea fowls. Let's see who threatens this bird in the wild.

Natural enemies of guinea fowls

Photo: Female guinea fowl

Social interaction with other species in the wild is rare. Guinea fowls fall prey to birds of prey such as eagles and owls. Mammals, including wild cats, dogs, wolves and humans, as well as large amphibians such as snakes and crocodiles, are the most common predators of guinea fowls.

Guinea fowls are generally social birds and live in small groups. They are mostly monogamous and friendly for life, but there have been cases when the guinea fowl chose a different partner. They are very good runners and prefer to run from predators rather than fly. Their flight is fast, but short-lived. Guinea fowls can usually live from 10 to 15 years, depending on the number of predators in their range. The main predators of the guinea fowl are foxes, coyotes, hawks and owls.

Guinea fowl populations can also be affected by hunting and egg collection, but generally speaking, guinea fowls are common wherever the land will support them. Birds sound the alarm whenever something unusual happens on the farm. While some people find this noise unpleasant, others find it an effective tool for protecting the farm and transforming the guinea fowls on the farm into “guard dogs”. The loud noise of the guineas also discourages rodents from entering the area.

Population and status of the species

Photo: What a guinea fowl looks like

This species is considered the least endangered species. Guinea fowls are native to most of South Africa. Guinea fowls are the main game birds in other parts of the world, but require careful management to prevent excessive predation.

The size of the current wild population is unknown, but it is likely small. The history of failed introductions of small, short-lived populations suggests that this species cannot exist naturally in New Zealand, at least under current conditions. New Zealand has several registered farmers and an unknown number of poultry owners that may be a source of intentional or accidental reintroduction.

These low-maintenance birds carefully protect other farm animals and are free from poultry diseases that plague most farmers. Their nutrient-rich manure can be compressed and used in the garden.

Working as a team, guinea fowls will eat any pest that fits their beak, but unlike chickens, they do it without tearing or scratching the garden. Since the guinea fowls are at a free distance, they will hunt ticks (or beetles, fleas, grasshoppers, crickets, snakes) all over your property. They are a more natural option for controlling insect pests than pesticides.

Guinea fowl Is truly one of the most peculiar, bizarre and original birds in the world. They are unique creatures that need to be cared for in a special way, but the reward for keeping a guinea fowl is priceless. They will protect your garden from attacking insects, sing unusual, but, nevertheless, sweet songs and you can simply look at them with admiration.