Friday, June 6, 2014

Helmeted Guineafowl

The helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris) has gray-black plumage sprinkled with white and a blue and red featherless head with a knob on top (the "helmet"). There are nine subspecies. 
I believe this is Reichenow's helmeted guineafowl (N. m. reichenowi) seen in Nakuru NP. It is found in Kenya and central Tanzania. 
The knob can be red or yellowish. It has a rounded body, short rounded wings and a short tail. It is a good runner and flies in short bursts. 
The guineafowl travels in flocks of about 25 birds. 
These guineafowl were found in Serengeti NP. Note that the helmets on these are yellow, while those in Nakuru were red. I believe these are tufted guineafowl (N. m. mitrata). Tufted guineafowl are found from Tanzania to Zambia, Botswana, northern South Africa, eastern Swaziland and Mozambique. 
This is a cropped and closer look at the tufted guineafowl and its yellow helmet. 
This flock was in Nakuru NP.
They have been domesticated (we have seen one in our own neighborhood off and on over the years) and their meat is sold commercially in Europe and North America. I have purchased the meat and cooked it myself and I ate it in a restaurant in Montreal

While visiting Africa recently, we saw guineafowl on three occasions, each time in groups. Two of the groups were in Nakuru National Park in Kenya and one group was in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. 

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite birds. I think their polka dots are so stylin'.