Fowl – Exotic and Rare Bird Inventory

Helmeted Guinea-Fowl

Guineafowl

Helmeted Guinea fowl by Gouldingken

The helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) is the best known of the guineafowl bird family, Numididae, and the only member of the genus Numida. It breeds in Africa, mainly south of the Sahara, and has been widely introduced into the West Indies, Brazil, Australia and southern France. The helmeted fuineafowl is a large (53–58 cm) bird with a round body and small head. They weigh about 1.3 kg. The body plumage is gray-black spangled with white. Like other guineafowl, this species has an unfeathered head, in this case decorated with a dull yellow or reddish bony knob, and red and blue patches of skin. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is also short. Various sub-species are proposed, differences in appearance being mostly a large variation in shape, size and colour of the casque and facial wattles. This is a gregarious species, forming flocks outside the breeding season typically of about 25 birds that also roost communally. Guineafowl are particularly well-suited to consuming massive quantities of ticks, which might otherwise spread lyme disease.[2] These birds are terrestrial, and prone to run rather than fly when alarmed. Like most gallinaceous birds, they have a short-lived explosive flight and rely on gliding to cover extended distances. Helmeted guineafowl are great runners, and can walk 10 km and more in a day. They make loud harsh calls when disturbed. Their diet consists of a variety of animal and plant food; seeds, fruits, greens, snails, spiders, worms and insects, frogs, lizards, small snakes and small mammals. Guineafowl are equipped with strong claws and scratch in loose soil for food much like domestic chickens, although they seldom uproot growing plants in so doing. As with all of the numididae, they have no spurs.

Pea-Fowl (Peacocks)

Peacock white blue green

“Paonroue” by Jebulon

Peafowl are two Asiatic and one African species of flying bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant familyPhasianidae, best known for the male’s extravagant eye-spotted tail covert feathers, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called apeacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny colour with darker brown patches or light tan and ivory, also referred to as “dirty white”. The term also includes the Congo peafowl, which is placed in a separate genus Afropavo.

The male Indian peafowl (peacock) has iridescent blue-green or green-colored plumage. The peacock tail (“train”) is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail covert feathers. The “eyes” are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female Indian peafowl (peahen) has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. Although she lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male, she has a crest. The female also displays her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young. The green peafowl appears
different from the Indian peafowl. The male has a green and gold plumage as well as an erect crest. The wings are black with a sheen of blue. Unlike the Indian peafowl, the green peahen is similar to the male, only having shorter upper tail coverts and less iridescence.

Jungle-Fowl

Jungle Fowl

“Stavenn Gallus” by Stavenn

Junglefowl are the four living species of bird from the genus Gallus in the Gallinaceous bird order, which occur in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

These are large birds, with colourful male plumage, but are nevertheless difficult to see in the dense vegetation they inhabit.

As with many birds in the pheasant family, the male takes no part in the incubation of the egg or rearing of the precocial young. These duties are performed by the drab and well-camouflaged female.

The junglefowl are seed-eaters, but insects are also taken, particularly by the young birds.

One of the species in this genus, the red junglefowl, is of historical importance as the likely ancestor of the domesticated chicken, although it has been suggested the grey junglefowl was also involved.

The Sri Lanka junglefowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka.