The Crowned or Helmeted Guinea fowl is very easy to identify with the casque on its blue and red head, their large Partridge-like bodies and their spotted feathers, which interior decorators have also taken a liking to!
You have a good chance of spotting and photographing these birds throughout South Africa and northwards all the way to Senegal and south west Arabia.
They particularly enjoy congregating next to roads in the national parks which provides a great opportunity to get a close up guinea fowl picture.
They prefer thorny scrub or savannah, especially near rivers or marshland, where they look for food. They have quite a varied diet: from seeds and flowers to insects and snails.
Guinea-fowl are great runners, but when threatened will fly up, scattering into trees or hide in thick grass and bushes. It's not unusual to see them running in front of your safari vehicle for several hundred metres as if they don't realise that they can just step to the side or fly away.
They live in flocks, sometimes up to several hundred, and roost together in big trees with lots of foliage.
These birds are on the menu for virtually every predator that occurs in the African bush such as leopard, jackal and most of the eagle species so they have to watch their step.
Crested Guinea Fowl
This species is scarcer, with a slightly smaller body, blue-grey face and an all-black neck. The most obvious difference however is the tuft of black feathers (or "bed head"!) on the crown.
Distribution is in the north eastern parts of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to Central Africa and Ghana.
They live in forested habitat where they eat seeds, insects and snails but also follow Vervet monkey troops to feed on falling fruit. They will seldom leave the forested areas and thick bush.