The Vulturine Guineafowl
) is the largest extant guineafowl
The guineafowl are a family of birds in the Galliformes order, although some authorities include the guineafowl as a subfamily, Numidinae, of the family Phasianidae...
Systematically, Acryllium are only distantly related to other guineafowl genera. Their closest living relative, the White Breasted Guineafowl, Agelastes meleagrides
inhabit primary forests in Central Africa. bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...
family, Numididae, and is the only member of the genus Acryllium
. It is a resident breeder in northeast Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
, from southern Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...
and just into northern Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...
Vulturine Guineafowl is a large (61–71 cm) bird with a round body and small head. It is longer in the wings, neck, legs and tail than other guineafowl. The adult has a bare blue face and black neck, and although all other guineafowl have unfeathered heads, this species looks particularly like a vulture
Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains...
because of the long bare neck and head.
The slim neck projects from a cape of long, glossy, blue and white hackles. The breast is cobalt blue, and the rest of the body plumage is black, finely spangled with white. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is longer than others in the family Numididae.
The sexes are similar, although the female is usually slightly smaller than the male and with smaller tarsal spurs. Young birds are mainly grey-brown, with a duller blue breast and short hackles.
Vulturine Guineafowl is a gregarious species, forming flocks outside the breeding season typically of about 25 birds. This species' food is seeds and small invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...
s. This guineafowl is terrestrial, and will run rather than fly when alarmed. Despite the open habitat, it tends to keep to cover, and roosts in trees. It makes loud chink-chink-chink-chink-chink
It breeds in dry and open habitats with scattered bushes and trees, such as savannah or grassland. It usually lays 4-8 cream-coloured eggs in a well-hidden grass-lined scrape.
- Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse by Madge and McGowan, ISBN 0-7136-3966-0