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Old Wednesday 29th October 2014, 10:06   #1
John Fordham
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Guineafowl

I found a flock of 7 Helmeted Guineafowl in farmland next to the village of Azemmour (just north of El Jadida) 3 weeks ago. Picture attached - they were a long way away and hence quality poor. Am assuming these are domesticated. Can someone confirm please.

Many thanks

John
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Old Sunday 2nd November 2014, 16:31   #2
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You are right. Unfortunately, the Moroccan endemic form (Numida meleagris sabyi) is extinct (last sightings in the 1970s).
Interestingly, some people say that some of these domesticated guineafowls contains some characteristics of the Moroccan form. So, maybe some genes are "conserved" in our domestic animals!
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Old Sunday 2nd November 2014, 17:11   #3
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I remember that ca. 2000, birdwatchers from Western Europe reported Guineafowl looking like 'sabyi' kept as domestics in some roadside village in Morocco. It was on one of the early West Palearctic mailing lists (Eurobirdnet?).

I wonder if that record and perhaps sabyi Guineafowl living in captivity can still be found?

Nevertheless, strange that Helmeted Guineafowl still appears in the new Collins Bird Guide.

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Old Monday 3rd November 2014, 16:32   #4
John Fordham
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Thanks for comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek View Post
I remember that ca. 2000, birdwatchers from Western Europe reported Guineafowl looking like 'sabyi' kept as domestics in some roadside village in Morocco. It was on one of the early West Palearctic mailing lists (Eurobirdnet?).

I wonder if that record and perhaps sabyi Guineafowl living in captivity can still be found?

Nevertheless, strange that Helmeted Guineafowl still appears in the new Collins Bird Guide.
If anyone is passing Azemmour and wants to check these birds out then they were in the field shown in attached.

Cheers

John
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Old Monday 3rd November 2014, 16:43   #5
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Jurek, that's what I mean as well. Local birders also reported Guineafowls looking like 'sabyi' among domestic birds.

As to your question, I don't know exactly but I will ask some people more knowledgeable about the subject than me.
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Old Monday 3rd November 2014, 21:52   #6
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Maybe naive question, but did anybody follow these sabyi-like guineafowl, tested their DNA for their relationship and set up a breeding centre for conservation and possible re-introduction?

Sounds like an obvious project, and could likely get funding and technical support from Europe.
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Old Thursday 6th November 2014, 19:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek View Post
Maybe naive question, but did anybody follow these sabyi-like guineafowl, tested their DNA for their relationship and set up a breeding centre for conservation and possible re-introduction?

Sounds like an obvious project, and could likely get funding and technical support from Europe.
Not a naive question, but to my knowledge, there is not much information about these sabyi-like guineafowl to begin with.
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Old Friday 7th November 2014, 14:52   #8
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I have seen them at at least 2 locations, the details of which escape me, i did'nt realise that there was a subspp North of the Sahara and passed them off as domesticated birds.....

Here's a link to identifying the various races.

http://www.gbwf.org/phpBB2/viewtopic...714eaaef328003

Laurie
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Old Friday 7th November 2014, 18:04   #9
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I have seen them at at least 2 locations, the details of which escape me, i did'nt realise that there was a subspp North of the Sahara and passed them off as domesticated birds.....

Here's a link to identifying the various races.

http://www.gbwf.org/phpBB2/viewtopic...714eaaef328003

Laurie
Now you know Laurie! Morocco is blessed with many sub-Saharan birds that existed only or mainly in Morocco in the Western Palearctic. Many of these birds are well differentiated as subspecies/forms. We unfortunately lost some, but still have some others (Small Buttonquail, Red-knobbed Coot, Double-spurred Francolin, Marsh Owl...).
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Old Friday 7th November 2014, 22:11   #10
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Looks like obvious project (or two projects) waiting for somebody:
One: investigate variation in wild and domestic Guineafowl. Second: find domestic guineafowl in Morocco resembling extinct in the wild subspecies 'sabyi' and set up breeding program.

Guineafowl lack charisma of birds of prey, but still worthwhile work can be done here.
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Old Saturday 8th November 2014, 07:56   #11
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Agree Moh - one of the delights of visiting your country (apart from the people, the habitats, the weather, the food and the general welcoming ambience) is the presence of a large number of subspecies, is it 60+?, a good proportion of which can be identified on plumage features and not just biometrics.

Some key species and a good few of the subs have eluded me so far and i've been 8 times but i bird relatively locally when there and altho changing accommodation every 3 days or so either walk or use my pushbike but it does mean getting to know small areas reasonably well. Have'nt been for a year and probably not for another as there are other places beckoning but after a couple of seasons i shall need a fix

All the best and i'm still following your blog.....

Laurie
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