Which Way Did He Go?? This Way...No That Way... Hurry!
"Wait... stop! Go.. are you sure? Where...did you see that? Turn around...run, run!"
If the Helmeted Guinea Fowl could talk, his words would be much like this, stressed, fast, and constantly on guard. When frightened they rush closer together and scamper away at a very high rate of speed, fussing and running for cover, often appearing to run in a very disorganized pattern. While noisy and not shy when announcing their presence, toward the evening they get even louder as the flocks of roosting birds all begin to cackle at the same time. By nightfall they have silenced and settled in for the night, unless they are disturbed and that sets them off again on a round of calling and fussing. This makes them very good alarms, as some farmers keep them around just for that purpose.
The Guinea Fowl are capable of flight, but they eat and nest on the ground, taking a mate for their life time. If one dies the other will mourn for a couple of weeks before accepting a new mate. They live on average about 12 yrs, not being ready for breeding until they are approximately 2 yrs of age. Breeding in the rainy season, they can lay up to 20 eggs. Some nests have been found with up to 50 eggs, presumably laid by more than one female. Only the females incubate the eggs, which hatch in 24-30 days. The little ones are known as “keets”.
To the untrained eye, its not easy to determine the gender of Guinea Fowl. The calls they make are the best way for us on this side of the camera to figure that out, but they move so fast it seems the calls could be coming from any of them. Guinea Fowl males utter a one-syllable call, usually repeated several times in succession: chit, chit, chit; females utter a two-syllable call, usually repeated several times in succession ("buck- wheat, buck-wheat, buck-wheat, buck-wheat").
Take a peek at this video that was put together some time ago by one of Africam's best friends, Sassabuck. While the video includes Cape Buffalo, it shows us a bit of the Guinea Fowls behavior, and allows us to hear the female calling. Enjoy!