Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Helmetted Guinea Fowl and Swainson's Spurfowl

Last week Skabenga barked quite incessantly one night. He's not normally a noisy dog, only giving voice when there is something threatening out there.

Although I shushed him several times, he'd jump up run to the fence at the bottom of the garden and bark like mad. 

The next morning, Grant called me and pointed to the nearby ESKOM pylons. A flock of guinea fowl was roosting on top of the poles and wires. 

 Helmetted Guinea Fowl roosting on top of electricity pylons just beyond the boundary fence 

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. 

Returning from my hike last Tuesday, Grant stopped for me to photograph spurfowl before I opened the gate they were sitting on. 

Swainson's Spurfowl

Chicken-sized, brownish francolins and spurfowls are not on the endangered list. Here in the Drakensberg Mountains, I have seen more Swainson's Spurfowl in a season than all the years we lived in the Free State.

Spurfowl are vaguely similar in size and build, closer examination quickly divides them up into several different species. The Swainson’s spurfowl distinguishes itself from its relatives by being brown overall, streaked with black, its bill dark above, red below; its face and throat red; its legs black. Sexes are alike in plumage, although the males are bigger than the females.

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here



  1. Hi Jo, wonderful shots of the guineafowls! They are such remarkable birds.

  2. yes a dog does not bark for no reason. nice birds.

  3. Lovely things - which I will never see. Thank you.

  4. Hi Jo. You are indeed lucky that both species should be so nummerous. Probabaly they are "game birds"? This often has an effect on populations of species - it does here.

  5. Cool photos of all the birds. xx

  6. Hello, Jo! This would be a cool sighting for me. I have only seen these birds in the zoo. The guinea fowl and the Spurfowl are both cool birds. Great photos. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  7. I love seeing the unusual (for me) birds you post! These are huge birds!

  8. both these birds are new to me

  9. Now you see I learnt something here Jo.. I wasn't sure if Guinea fowl could fly that high with those short rounded wings ☺ I thought they were more low level birds!

  10. Dear Jo
    We, Olof & Eva Armini Sweden, lived at Shinyanga Sec School close to Mwadui 1975-77. In november we are going to travel from Kampala to Tanga and try a stopover I Mwadui 28 - 29 november - 40 years later. I can't come in contact with Mwadui Guesthouse. Can you help me with a contact to Guesthouse or another place to sleep in Mwadui.
    Eva Armini eva.armini@gmail com


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