Guinea fowl

Have you noticed these funny, neck bopping birds running (or flying) around the farm? They’re often hanging around and seem to be growing in numbers.

Guinea fowl are native to Africa. The most common ones we see are from the Numidinae family. The typical look of the helmeted guinea fowl is a featherless face with brown eyes, red and blue wattles at the bill and dark grey or black plumage with white spots and a hunched posture. These large birds are between 45-70cm in length and the female usually weighs more than the male.

Guinea fowl are social birds and are found in large flocks. They are ground feeding birds that eat insects, worms, berries and seeds. They are also an effective means of pest control, large flocks of them kill and eat mice, they also eat all the insects without damaging the plants or vegetables in gardens (good to know). Some species of the guinea fowl may go without drinking water for a period and rather source their moisture from food.

You will see them roaming around and running more than flying, they run when they are alarmed or startled and fly when they are pressed, but only for a short period to escape the danger or get to a higher point.

At night they tend to sleep in the trees and usually stick together in their flock. The helmeted guinea fowl form a close monogamous bond with a single mate over its lifetime. They make great parents too. The young or keets, what they are known as, are active immediately after hatching but need to be around their parents for a few months while they grow and learn the ropes. Hopefully we see some little ones soon on Fariview.

They are loud, noisy birds and often sound an alarm whenever there is anything unusual on the farm. Some people find the sound they make too loud and a nuisance while others like it as it’s an ‘alarm’ when something is not right, and these birds are sometimes used for their “watchdog” abilities.

Next time you hear them, listen out for the sounds they make, it is quite a catchy tune and will be great accompanied with some dance moves.