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I Dream Africa provides a comprehensive directory of activities, hot spots, top locations etc. in Namibia. Combined with the directory, I Dream Africa also provides tour packages allowing clients to experience Namibia at its best.
Guinea Fowl
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Guinea Fowl

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Guineafowl are a group of African, seed-eating, ground-nesting birds that resemble partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Namibia.

Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris

The Helmeted Guineafowl (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 and southern France.

It breeds in warm, fairly dry and open habitats with scattered shrubs and trees such as savanna or farmland. Males often show aggression towards each other, and will partake in ravenous fighting which will leave other males bloodied and otherwise injured. Attempts at making themselves look fearsome is when their wings raise upwards from their sides and feathers bristle across the length of the body, or they may also rush forwards with a gaping beak. The nest is a well-hidden, generally unlined scrape and a clutch is normally 6-12 eggs which the female incubates for 26–28 days. Nests containing larger numbers of eggs are generally believed to be the result of more than one hen using the nest; eggs are large and an incubating bird could not realistically cover significantly more than a normal clutch. Domestic birds at least, are notable for producing extremely thick-shelled eggs that are reduced to fragments as the chicks hatch, rather than leaving two large sections and small chips from where any chick has removed the end of the egg. It has been noted that domesticated Guineahens are not the best of mothers, and will often abandon their nests. The chicks are cryptically coloured and rapid wing growth enables them to flutter onto low branches barely a week after hatching. These guineafowl live as long as 12 years in the wild.

The Helmeted Guineafowl 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. 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.

Flocks of guineafowl have flourished in recent years in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, where they seem to have adapted remarkably well. The flocks move slowly the quieter suburban roads, looking for food on the grassy 'pavements' and in gardens where the fence is low enough for some to enter without feeling separated from the flock. They often roost at night on the roofs of bungalows. While residents generally appreciate the local wildlife, it can be a nuisance, obstructing traffic and making a lot of noise in the early morning. Their success is probably due to the large but cautious flock - they can fend off cats, do not enter gardens with dogs, and are visible enough in the quiet roads in which they live to avoid being run over. Although many young guineafowl manage to fall down drains (and are left behind by the flock), it is not enough to restrain their numbers. Adult birds are sometimes caught and eaten by the homeless.

Crested Guineafowl Guttera pucherani

The Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani) is a member of the Numididae, the guineafowl bird family. It is found in open forest, woodland and forest-savanna mosaics in sub-Saharan Africa. It has a total length of approximately 50 cm (20 in) and the plumage is overall blackish with dense white spots. It has a distinctive black crest on the top of its head, the form of which varies from small curly feathers to down depending upon subspecies, and which easily separates it from all other species of guineafowl, except the Plumed Guineafowl. Unfortunately, the names "crested" and "plumed" are often mis-applied across the species.

The intraspecific taxonomy of the Crested Guineafowl has been subject to considerable debate, but most recent authorities accept 5 subspecies (e.g. I. Martinez in HBW, 1994). Visual differences between the subspecies, in addition to the form of the crest, are in the colour and position of any patches on the otherwise grey-blue neck and face. Such patches vary from almost white to yellow, to red. The nominate subspecies is found in East Africa from Somalia to Tanzania, and is distinctive with a grey-blue neck and extensive red to the face. It is sometimes considered a monotypic species, the Kenya Crested Guineafowl, in which case the remaining subspecies, which are found in southern, central and west Africa, retain the common name Crested Guineafowl, but under the scientific name Guttera edouardi. They have a bluish face and neck, though the nape is very pale greyish (almost white) in some subspecies and the throat is red in others.

The species is monogamous with probable strong and long-lasting pair bonds. Courtship feeding is common, the author having seen a captive male run 5-10 metres to the hen to present some particular morsel. The nest is a well-hidden scrape in long grass or under a bush; eggs vary from nearly white to buff and a clutch is usually around 4 or 5.

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