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Vulturine Guineafowl (Click-Readmore)

Vulturine Guineafowl

Scientific name: Acryllium vulturinum
Higher classification: Acryllium
Family: Numididae
Phylum: Chordata
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Aves
Size: Length - 50.8 to 52.8 cm. Weight - 1 to 1.6 kg
Conservation status: Least Concern (Population stable)


These birds have a bright blue body with black and white streaks and small white dots on the back feathers. They have a "horny" helmet on top of their naked heads. The head region is bright with blue, red, and yellow. The eyes are red and the beak is short and black. There is a band of tiny brown feathers on the back of its head. The males and females look very similar and are difficult to distinguish.


The Vulturine Guineafowl frequents the scrubs at lowland forest edges, but also dry and more open areas than other guineafowls. It can be found in arid thorn-scrub, in grassland with trees and bushes and in arid and semi-arid areas.


The Vulturine Guineafowl is sedentary in its range in South Ethiopia, North-west and South-west Somalia, arid parts of North and East Kenya and North-east Tanzania.


The Vulturine Guineafowl lives in flocks of 20-30 individuals outside the breeding season. They are gregarious birds, feeding and roosting together. They roost at night high in trees and reach the roosts by flying. If they are disturbed or excited, their calls are heard over long distances. During the hottest hours of the day, they rest perched in the thick vegetation. When the breeding season approaches, they disperse and can be seen solitary or in pairs. The birds become aggressive and fights occur between rival males. They perpetually chase each other and fight, while the mates communicate both by vocal and visual signals to maintain the pair-bonds.


These birds will feed on seeds, roots, tubers, grubs, rodents, small reptiles and insects. They will occasionally feed on vegetation and fruits.


Breeding peaks occur in June and December/January. The Vulturine Guineafowl nests on the ground, in a scrape made by the female. The nest is situated under the cover of dense tussocks of grasses, or protected by rock or bush. It breeds in dry, open areas with some trees and bushes in savannahs or grasslands. The female lays between 13 and 15 eggs, but two females can lay in the same nest. The eggs are creamy-white or pale brown. The incubation lasts about 28 days. The chicks are prosocial and leave the nest almost immediately. They are able to feed themselves but their parent guide and protect them for some time. They are able to fly about 15-20 days after hatching.