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Guineafowl & Turkey
There is debate on the taxonomy of Guineafowl. Some authors class them in the family Phasianidae and others give them their own family, Numididae. There are seven species of Guineafowl in 4 genera. Of the seven species, only four have been established in captivity. One species, the Helmeted Guineafowl, is the ancestor of all domestic guineafowl. This section will introduce you to all species, with avicultural data on the four kept in captivity.
Native to the New World, the family Meleagrididae consists of two large game bird species, the Ocellated Turkey and the ancestor of one the world's most familiar barnyard bird, the Wild Turkey.
This section is an introduction to the guineafowl & turkey of the world and their captive management. Each species is described with natural history information, avicultural data, images, and web links. It is highly recommended for the visitor to advance their knowledge by using the references and further readings recommended on the species sheets. These sheets are only an introduction and if a person is interested in aviculture, please read all available material and books before purchasing your birds.
Guineafowl (genus Agelastes)
This genus consists of two primitive species, quite unlike other guineafowl. They are unspotted, have bare red heads and overall black plumage. They inhabit rainforests of western Africa and are not known to be currently kept in aviculture.
Helmeted Guineafowl (genus Numida)
The Helmeted Guineafowl is the ancestor of all domestic guineafowl. There is only one species in the genus, but with as many as 30 subspecies described (many are debated, possibly only 9 truly recognized). The overall plumage is much like domestic guineafowl, overall spotted with a bare head and horny casque on the head (varies among subspecies). They are native to scrublands and savannahs in most of Africa south of the Sahara.
Crested & Plumed Guineafowl (genus Guttera)
There is some debate among orinthologists on how many species are in this genus. Some list the two subspecies of crested guineafowl as two distinct species, pucherani and edouardi. They are generally spotted like the previous genus, but instead of a casque, have a bushy black crest on their heads. The plumed species is very rare in captivity, but the crested is well established.
Vulturine Guineafowl (genus Acryllium)
A very unusual, but beautiful species is the sole member of this genus. The Vulturine Guineafowl is very popular with aviculturists and is well established in captivity. Named for their vulture-like head and face, they have long tails and elegant white plumes on the throat and back. Found in the savannahs of east Africa.
Turkey (genus Meleagris)
Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A CATALOG OR PRICE LIST. Any requests for items, birds, eggs or supplies for sale will go unanswered, check out the GBWF Classifieds for possible surplus. Again, this site is not a catalog or price list!!!!
Information found on the species accounts/fact sheets have come from personal experience, personal communications, publications and books. The information found within is designed as an introduction to game bird aviculture. I cannot guarantee what has worked for one will work for another. These birds can be unpredictable, and we learn something new from them every day. Those interested in this hobby for the first time should check with their local conservation departments for permit information before purchasing birds. Remember, game birds are living creatures, not show pieces or ornaments. We encourage all interested in this hobby to provide optimal care for their birds. Beginners to this hobby should learn as much as they can from other keepers, books and publications before purchasing birds. Many forums are available through the internet, and many keepers will be happy to share their personal experiences about a particular species. If you cannot properly house or care for these birds, DO NOT buy any. We do not encourage hybridization of any pure species or subspecies of wildlife. Responsible animal ownership is the goal and education is the key. The webmaster of this site does not offer any birds for sale. gbwf.org will always be a work in progress, with new information added often.
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