As familiar as South Africans are with the Helmeted Guineafowl, it may be surprising that relatively few people know that our country is home to another, slightly smaller, species of guineafowl, the Crested Guineafowl.
The Crested Guineafowl is an inconspicuous species that inhabits forests and dense riverine woodlands and occurs in pairs or small flocks, feeding on fruits, berries, seeds and invertebrates. They often follow feeding monkeys, pecking up any food items the primates drop from the tree tops. Breeding takes place in spring and summer, when hens lay small clutches (4-5 eggs) in scraped hollows hidden among thick vegetation.
The IUCN considers the Southern Crested Guineafowl as being of “Least Concern“, being found in large, stable populations over a wide area that includes Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In South Africa they are in no immediate danger of extinction, although they have a very limited distribution, occurring only in the north of Kwazulu-Natal and the north-eastern corner of Limpopo Province. Good places to go searching for them would be Cape Vidal and uMkhuze in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the areas around Pafuri and Punda Maria in the Kruger National Park.