STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: Sub-Saharan Africa
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
The body feathers are gray-black with white speckles. The small, rounded wings are suitable for quick flight but not for long distances. Their featherless, helmet-like head is blue and red in color. Males and females appear similar in color and form, but the males are larger in size and have bigger helmets than females. The birds have short beaks with hanging wattles that surround the nostrils. The feet have three front toes and one back toe, which are designed for scratching the ground for food.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
Males and females are typically monogamous for life. The female nests on the ground and lays approximately four to twelve eggs per clutch. Much larger numbers of eggs in a nest usually means several females are sharing the nest. The hen begins incubating the eggs when the last egg has been laid. The incubation period lasts twenty-five to twenty-nine days. Baby guinea fowl are called keets. Guineas can live up to twelve years in the wild and fifteen years in captivity.
They are native to sub-Saharan Africa but have been introduced around the globe.
Helmeted guineas have adapted to many kinds of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and even suburban areas. They prefer open areas by day; for safety they roost in trees or on top of buildings overnight.
As omnivores the guinea fowl forages on the ground for seeds, bulbs, roots, tubers, fallen grain, and many types of invertebrates, including flies, ticks, crickets, locusts, and scorpions.