Ugandan Birds: The Guinea Fowls


Guinea fowls(Numida Meleagris) are distinctive spotted game birds of forest and bush which are endemic to Africa though in some places in Uganda you can find them domesticated. In the local luganda language they are known as “Enkofu“.

All guinea fowls are highly gregarious birds which like chasing each other and dust bathing. You would wonder if they really get tired at times but they really enjoy doing what they do. They respond to danger with loud far-carrying rattling and thrilling calls and it is common in both sexes. The characteristic trumpeted loud rattling and the squeaky is what you will hear once they start chasing each other.

guinea fowl

Identifying the Guinea fowl

There are six races of guinea fowls and among them is the helmeted fowl.

You will easily identify the adult birds by an upright bony casque on top of the head. These measure around 61-71cm high. You find the immature ones with smaller casque and wattles. The young birds are not as entertaining as the adult ones, they are dull!

You can identify guinea fowls by their facial colors, shape & color of the casque and the shape of the throat wattle.

Among the helmeted fowls are The nominate,The somaliensis and The reichenowi. The nominate birds have a variable- sized casque and rounded blue gape wattle. The somaliensis have pointed blue wattles with red tips and a prominent tuft of bristles extending from the bill base. And the reichenowi has a long casque and pointed red wattles.

In your bird watching trip to Uganda you are most likely to come across the nominate ones. They usually move in pairs and sometimes in small families. Large flocks are usually widespread in grasslands. The guinea fowls normally feed on seeds, small tubers and small insects.

Guinea fowls are common in a wide range of grassland, Bush country, and woodland. You may easily find them when you visit Entebbe Wildlife Education Center.