Crested Guineafowl

©Roger de la Harpe
Crested Guineafowl
©Nigel Dennis
Crested Guineafowl

Name

Crested Guineafowl - Guttera edouardi

Crested Guineafowl Appearance

The crested guineafowl is one of the larger of the ground birds in South Africa, at 50 cm in length. This guineafowl has almost black plumage with an overall dense pattern of white spots. This bird has a bare face and neck, that is black in colour, a white patch on the back of the neck and a distinctive red eye. The thick crest of black feathers on the top of the head makes this guineafowl easy to distinguish from any other species. A narrow white wing stripe is visible in flight.

Both male and female are alike in appearance.

Crested Guineafowl Diet

The crested guineafowl is omnivorous and feeds on a wide range of plant and animal food. They have been observed scratching through elephant and rhino dung, looking for insects and undigested seeds. 

Crested Guineafowl Breeding

The crested guineafowl is monogamous. The nest is a shallow scrape, well hidden in thick vegetation, normally on the forest verge. The hen lays 4 to 7 eggs, which are incubated for around 23 days. The chicks are highly precocial and are able to leave the nest almost immediately. The eggs are incubated by the female, with the male returning to the nest when the chicks hatch, to assist with brooding and rearing of the chicks.

Crested Guineafowl Behaviour

The crested guineafowl will often practise intra-specific brood-parasitism. The behaviour of one female laying her eggs in another nest of the same species, then abandoning the eggs for them to be incubated by the female whose nest was used.

Crested Guineafowls will fly up into trees to eat berries and will follow primates and other animals around, to take advantage of any dropped fruit or berries.

The crested guineafowl roost in trees at night, to avoid predation. They have a strong, fast, but not sustainable, flight used to avoid predators. They can fly up to 100 m before they need to land.

Threats

None, of least concern.

Crested Guineafowl Distribution and Habitat

The crested guineafowl is confined to lowland woodland and forest, they can be found in Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu Natal Provinces in South Africa.