Vulturine guineafowl

Acryllium vulturinum

The vulturine guineafowl, which gets its name from its bald head like a vulture’s, lives on the dry savannah, in semi-desert areas and the thorny deserts of southern Uganda and Somalia, east Kenya and northeast Tanzania.

 

They normally live in small groups, spending the whole day on the ground and only go up into the trees to sleep or escape their predators.

Natural habit

It is distributed in Africa, from south and east Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya to northeast Tanzania, where it prefers arid and semi-arid regions like savannahs.

Vulturine guineafowl
  • Distribution / Resident
  • Breeding
  • Wintering
  • Subspecies

Risk level

  • Extint
  • Extint in the wild
  • Critically endangered
  • In Danger
  • Vulnerable
  • Near threatened
  • Minor concern
  • Insufficient data
  • Not evaluated
Least Concern

Taxonomy

Class
Aves
Order
Galliformes
Family
Phasianidae

Physical characteristics

1,1-1,8 Kg
Birth Weight:
60-72 cm
Up to 15 years

Biology

Habitat
Savannah
Social life
Gregarious
Feeding
Omnivorous

Reproduction

Gestation
23-32
Days
Baby
4 to 8

Discover how they are

Biology

Description

The vulterine guineafowl is a dark grey colour with small white spots measuring from 60 to 72 centimetres. Its blue breast has long and thin white feathers, which are very characteristic. Its name makes reference to the fact that its head, bare of feathers, looks like a vulture’s. The female is larger than the male, although it may not seem like it.

Habitat

Eitòpia savannas of southern Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania

Feeding

This terrestrial bird feeds primarily on seeds, shoots and fruits, complementing its diet by capturing invertebrates, especially scorpions and spiders.

Reproduction

The breeding season varies ostensibly due to its large distribution area in Africa. It usually makes its nest in a depression dug into the ground and lined with a bit of plant matter. It can lay between 13 and 15 eggs, although the most common number is from four to eight. The female incubates the eggs for 23 to 32 days and the babies are ready to leave the nest as soon as they hatch. Indeed, it is a nidifugous species, like many other members of the Galliformes order.

Conduct

It forms groups numbering from 20 to 30 and breeds in coordination at the end of the rainy season, between June and January, depending on the latitude. Very terrestrial, it makes extremely short flights, remaining close to the ground. It is primarily sedentary.

Status and conservation programs

Its populations are estimated at over one million today and, while not endangered, it has disappeared due to overhunting in some countries, such as Uganda. Recent studies on the influence of climate change in some of its areas of distribution indicate that it may have problems in the medium-long term, with a larger and faster loss of habitat.