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guinea fowl

The Guinea fowl - also known as guineahen - are a group of wild or domesticated birds belonging to the Galliformes order, with Africa being their natural habitat. These insect-eating birds also feed on seeds. They are usually plump and round in shape, with featherless heads and differing features depending on the species. The weight of guineafowl usually ranges from 1.5-3.5 pounds, while their length varies between 16-28 inches. Each species differs in appearance and characteristics, for example, some of them have brown patches on their napes, while others, belonging to the genus Guttera, have a unique black crest. Species of Guineafowl. Apart from the Galliformes order, some scientists also classify the guineafowl as a sub-family, known as Numididae, under the family of Phasianidae. This family also consists of other birds, such as turkeys, chickens, pheasants, partridges and quails etc.

The species of Gunieafowl include the Genus Agelastes, Genus Numida, Genus Acryillium, and Genus Guttera. The Genus Agelastes consists of the White-breasted Guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides) and the Black Guineafowl (Agelastes niger), while the Genus Numida and Genus Acryillium are comprised of Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), and Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum), respectively. Plumed Guineafowl (Guttera plumifera) and Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani) are both included in Genus Guterra.

The White-breasted guineafowl are found in western Africa, and are distinguishable on the basis of their black feathers and white breasts that extend up to their necks. The descendants of the domesticated guineafowl are believed to be the helmeted guineafowl, which are naturally found in the south of Sahara in the grasslands of Africa. Among all these species, the Vulturine guineafowl are the largest, with blue feathers and longer legs, necks and tails, as compared to the other species. The plumed guinea fowl and the crested guineafowl have their heads covered with tufts of black hair, while the black guineafowl are black in color with naked heads.

Behavior of Guineafowl. Guineafowl live in flocks with other birds, which are quite noisy, as they easily get alarmed, making loud noises. This characteristic makes guineafowl an excellent guard because they can warn other birds about any looming threats in the form of owls, raccoons, or any other enemies, by crying out loud.

Guineafowl are found in the wild as well as kept by farmers to obtain their eggs and meat. The young birds (known as 'keets') are kept in special boxes, until they are at least six weeks old, after which they are moved to a coop. In the wild, guineafowl are usually found settled together in large numbers on trees, with their numbers even reaching up to 2000 on a single tree.
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