Scientific name: Acryllium vulturinum
Other common names: Vulturine Guineafowl; Vulturine Guinea; Vulturine
The Vulturine Guineafowl is a beautiful bird with a hideous name. This savannah species prefers open country with scattered trees and brush to allow for roosts or hiding, which can make it a good bird for the grounds of a hobby farm or country estate, as well as the grasslands of east Africa.
Despite the bald head and neck that gives the Vulturine Guineafowl its name, this largest of the guineas is a spectacular bird that continues to gain admirers in aviculture. White pin dots or “pearls” speckle the black wings, thighs, and lower back. Long blue and white plumes circle the neck, partly hiding and partly revealing the cobalt blue breast. A fashion designer couldn't have done it better. The sexes are much alike, although females run smaller.
1.6 - 1.8 kilograms (3.5 - 4 lbs.)
10 - 15 years
Vulturine Guinea Fowl, like any other poultry that ranges over the ground, may be susceptible to worm infections. A good veterinarian is your best advisor at how to de-worm your birds. Coccidiosis should be battled by providing a scrupulously clean coop. Be aware that these insect-eaters have a very high need for protein. If you are raising the youngsters, known as keets, you must be careful to supply crumbles with the right amount of protein to prevent sudden death. Some breeders advise providing live mealworms.
Behavior / temperament:
Although some birds have been observed to make caring and protective fathers, the male Vulturine Guinea Fowl is capable of being aggressive both toward his human keepers and toward his mate. It's crucial to provide adequate cover to allow the female to make a safe getaway when she isn't in the mood. Like the Helmeted Guinea Fowl, they are capable of being extremely noisy, so they are not suitable for people with close neighbors.
Because of their exotic appearance, Vulturine Guinea Fowl have been kept in pairs in large well-planted mixed species aviaries as well as free-ranging on estates. Aviaries should have plenty of cover, to protect the female from her mate when he's feeling too aggressive. Train free-ranging birds to return to a secure roost or enclosure at night, so that they won't be a victim of night-time predators. It is important to start from an early age, so that the birds will follow you pretty much without question. Experts suggest having a light on a timer in the coop that goes on automatically before sunset, since guineas are chary of entering a dark place. They are from a hot climate, so you need to be able to provide heat to the shelter when the temperature falls below 45 degrees F.
Vulturine Guinea Fowl are often kept free-ranging in collections with the better-known Helmeted Guinea Fowl, and they seem to do well on a similar diet. They may be considered omnivorous birds who aren't afraid to eat almost anything that doesn't run away fast enough, be it seeds, insects, ticks, small frogs, snakes, lizards, and even rodents. However, they have a huge appetite for insects and similar “bugs” like ticks, which is one reason they are so highly regarded on lawns, in gardens, and around the farmyard. Obviously, for many people, these birds prove most useful (and most beautiful) when allowed to free range around the property for their own food. However, be prepared to supplement the diet with a high quality game bird or laying crumble, as well as plenty of greens and grains. Adult females generally require a calcium supplement.
Vulturine Guinea Fowl are tough birds known to go a long time without drinking water. However, there is no reason to test this in a captive setting. Clean water should always be available in case they should need it.
Written by Elaine Radford
display birds, gorgeous birds
indoor flight cage
romaine lettuce, temperate climates
Vulturine Guineafowl as display birds
I worked with a pair of vulturine guinea fowl in an accredited zoo. Since beginning to work with them, I have been looking into acquiring my own, but the cost has been prohibitive.
Vulturine guinea fowl are gorgeous birds. The cobalt blue on their feathers shows differently in different light. They are elegant and deliberate walkers which finishes off their look. Our zoo kept them in a large treed outdoor walk-in aviary in the summer time, where they thrived and remained in sight to visitors most of the time. In winter, they were housed in an indoor flight cage, about 15x15x10 feet, with a cement floor.
Breeders seem to feed very different diets, some saying they will not take commercial feed or will not thrive on it. Our pair did fine on turkey pellets, cut romaine lettuce, and chopped fruit. I would personally also add sprouted beans and grains as well as mealworms and superworms to the diet. Fresh water should always be available.
Vulturine guinea fowl are intolerant of cold weather. They will no thrive in cold climates or drafty areas with cold ground. In temperate climates, they must be kept in heated enclosures in the winter with warm floors. They can easily lose toes or feet to frostbite. They should also be kept in dry conditions. Dampness and mud are not good for them.
Some colleagues reported to me that vulturine guinea fowl can be very aggressive, but I never found that to be a problem. Our pair were very calm and quiet unless they had to be captured for movement or examination. Like other guinea fowl, when captured they will shed a lot of feathers as a defense mechanism, so handling should be kept to a minimum. They are not suitable as handled pets, but as display birds.
The high cost of obtaining vulturine guinea fowl ($1500-2000 per pair is often the price) makes them unsuitable as estate birds in areas where there are natural predators. They would do best in a large, warm planted aviary with a dry floor. If obtaining them with the idea to breed them, try to get several pairs. They could offer a good return because the supply does not meet the demand currently..
From bnaqqimanco Jul 3 2013 9:33AM