Wild Fact #814 – Rogaine Candidate – Guinea Fowl

As usual, I enjoyed writing yesterday’s fact so much that I wanted to talk about another African bird today.  These birds may not have different coloured wattles or really long eye-lashes but they are still pretty cool looking.  Oh yeah, I completely forgot to tell you the name of the bird.  We are going to learn about the Guinea Fowl, which some species have been introduced around the world for breeding purposes. Although you can find them on farms around the world, the Guinea Fowl is native to  Africa.

The Guinea Fowl generally weighs about 0.7 – 1.6 kg (1.5 – 3.5 lbs) and can grow as long as 71 cm (30″).  This larger bird is a ground dwelling creature that spends the majority of its time digging to find scrumptious insects and worms.  We may not find them delicious but the Guinea Fowl sure does.  But even they will grow tired of insects and consume some berries, seeds, small reptiles from time to time.  The fowl is just a cog in the food web though.  It may eat numerous animals but it is also prey to many larger predators such as dogs, wolves, humans and even crocodiles.

If you have looked closely at the picture above then you may have thought  that this bird looks bald.  If you did notice this, Congratulations! The Guinea Fowl resembles a vulture in that regard, which is why one species is called the Vulturine Guinea Fowl.  Don’t be fooled though, they have no relation to the vulture. I am still scratching my head to try and figure out why these birds need to be bald.  I understand that vultures have featherless heads so they don’t carry bacteria from the roadkill they eat, but the Guinea Fowl doesn’t feast on carrion.  The only thing I can think of is the fact that these birds are constantly digging in the sand.  Perhaps they are bald as a result of this foraging behaviour.  I would love to hear all of your ideas on why the Guinea Fowl is bald so please leave a comment below.  I am looking forward to your input to help solve this riddle.

Have a great day!

Photo by Scotch Macaskill

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