Helmeted Guineafowl

Marilyn Harris

Joined February 2008

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Artist's Description

I came across these wild Helmeted Guineafowl at Macrossan Park, Outback Queensland.

The Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), are plump terrestrial birds with small heads. Only the introduced Helmeted Guineafowl can be found in Australia, and only in small non-sustainable wild groups or individuals. Several small feral populations, some on Barrier Reef islands, including Heron Island, Queensland.

The Guinea Fowl is named after Guinea, a country on the Sub-Saharan west coast of Africa.

Guinea fowl have been kept in captivity and used by man for thousands of years. Guinea fowl figures were inscribed on the temples and buildings of the ancient Egyptians as far back as 2400 B.C. By 1500 B.C. the Egyptians had incubators capable of holding tens of thousands of eggs and could claim hatch rates up to 70%. The Greeks were keeping domesticated varieties by 400 B.C. and both the meat and eggs were re considered delicacies by the ancient Romans.

Guineas were brought to the New World a mere 16 years after Christopher Columbus made his first landing. Birds were stocked from Spanish ships bringing African slaves to the islands of the Caribbean. The birds adapted so fast and were so well established that they were thought by many to be indigenous.

Artwork Comments

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