Vulturine guineafowl have been kept in captivity for decades. While not considered domesticated like the Helmeted variety, Vulturine are increasing in popularity. While these birds are still rare in private collections (zoos have been exhibiting them for years), they are becoming more readily available to hobbyists and poultry enthusiasts.
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- There are no sub-species of this guinea.
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
Vulturine guineas are the largest birds in their family Numididae. And are the only species in their genus shown by their scientific name, (Acryllium vulturinum). In the wild this bird breeds throughout Northeastern Africa, from Uganda south into eastern Kenya. Arguably one of the most attractive in its family. They are large, 61Â71 cm, with a round, but slightly tapered body and small head. It is longer in the wings, neck, legs and tail than other guineafowl. The adult has a bare blue face and black neck, with a small band of short chestnut-sable colored feathers that extend behind the eyes on the back of the head. The slim neck protrudes from a cape of long, glossy, blue, black, and white hackles. The breast is a brilliant cobalt blue, and the rest of the body is black, finely spangled with white. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail is longer than other guineas. The sexes are similar, although the female is usually slightly smaller than the male and with smaller tarsal spurs. DNA sexing is common in captive birds. Young birds are mainly grey-brown, with a duller blue breast and short hackles. Their paler blue underparts develop within weeks of hatching. These birds are gregarious, forming flocks when out of the breeding season averaging 20-50 individuals. Hens lay 6-18 eggs in a well concealed grass-lined scrape in the soil. Incubation lasts 24-28 days according to various sources. I've found keets tend to hatch early for me. Vulturine guineas should be kept in large, well-planted aviaries with adequate cover. Generally one pair per aviary unless it is very large. These birds are for the most part non-aggressive even during the breeding season; although occasionally males can be a little snarky when a hen is brooding eggs or young keets. This allows Vulturines to be kept in mixed collections. Vulturine guineas do not have the reputation of bad parents like their Helmeted brethren. Keets should still be protected on cold, damp mornings. These birds are omnivorous in the wild and this diet should be mimicked in captivity. Gamebird crumble makes a good base for the diet although some have used laying crumble or pellets as well. Fresh foods like romaine lettuce, carrots, squash, zucchini, watermelon, apple and cantaloupe should be offered. Grating some of these food items help the guineas consume them better. Cooked items like rice, wheat, corn, beans, peas, and boiled egg (grated) round off a healthy diet. As these birds hail from warmer regions in Africa it is crucial to provide shelter and heat in the coldest of winter months as these birds can not tolerate temperatures dropping below 30 degrees Fahrenheit without supplemental heat. On the flip side however, they tolerate heat quite well provided they have access to shade and fresh water. The breeding season varies in the US with some birds starting to produce in the spring and others in the fall. Clutch size seems to vary as well and multiple clutches can be obtained if the breeder removes the eggs from the pair. Vulturine don't require any truly "special" care outside of a heated shelter in colder months. Keets may require live food such as small mealworms in order to induce a feeding response the first few days after hatching. ***More (better) pictures Pending***
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