Common Name: Helmeted guineafowl
Scientific Name: Numida meleagris
At the zoo: 2 free ranging males - Pondu (4y), Mageu (6y)
Habitat: Helmeted Guineafowl are found in African grasslands, thornveld, and agricultural land.
They mostly feed on seeds, bulbs, and insects.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Best known for their loud alarm calls, helmeted guineafowl can be found in flocks of 8-15 individuals roaming the scrub and grassland areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Due to wide distribution throughout their natural habitat, and their use as domestic poultry, these birds have no major conservation threats, however, they have been introduced to non-native habitats where there is a risk of causing a disruption in the local ecosystem.
Female guineafowl are generally responsible for choosing nesting sites. They build the exterior of their nests with twigs and grasses and line the interior with soft plant material and feathers. After breeding, males will spend the majority of their time and energy defending and feeding the female. The incubation period lasts 26 to 28 days and begins once the last egg is laid. Some females will lay their eggs in another nest to be incubated by the owner of that nest. This is known as egg-dumping, and is a common occurrence.
Did you know that Helmeted Guineafowl live in large communities and are very social? Males are dominant and will chase each other to assert their dominance!