What’s the Difference Between Guinea Fowl and Pheasant?

Difference Between Guinea Fowl and Pheasant

A guinea fowl has some characteristics common to pheasants, so it’s quite easy to think they are the same. However, both birds have easily recognizable striking differences.

So there shouldn’t be a mixup when you think about it because both birds’ physical features will help you recognize them.

However, how do you identify the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant?

For example, a guinea fowl has dark plumage with white spots, while a pheasant has brown plumage with long tails.

One major similarity is that these birds are both in the order of Galliformes. 

Furthermore, research shows that guinea fowls have genetic ties to telecrex, which may have given rise to the oldest breeds of pheasants.

Therefore, we must look at both birds closely to understand these differences better. Both birds have different features that make them unique and beautiful. 

Besides, If you can understand the difference between guinea fowl and pheasant, you should be able to identify one easily.

Let’s look at each bird and its unique features then we can talk about their differences. Knowing these facts will help us identify the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant.

What Do Guinea Fowls Look Like: Everything You Need to Know

Characteristics Features and Habitat

The common name for guinea fowl is the pet speckled hen or original fowl. The reason for this name is the bird’s appearance; it has dark plumage with white spots distributed over its feathers.

They are particularly found in Africa and are the oldest gallinaceous birds from the order of Galliformes. 

In addition, their habitat is usually found in the savannah or semi-deserts. Some other species prefer to hang on tree tops or forests; each habitat is peculiar to breed or species.

Guinea fowls are somewhat similar to pheasants and are sometimes placed under the Phasianidae( pheasant family).

However, the guinea fowl belongs to the class Numinidae. Guinea fowls have nearly 10 species, each with different feeding patterns, habitats, purposes, sexes, and young. Some have slightly different features that mark the difference between one species and another. 

For example, the Numida meleagris is reared mainly for meat and security. These birds have exquisite keen features that are an advantage for farm owners. They mostly scare away predators or alert farm owners when danger is nearby. 

Furthermore, the vulturine guinea fowl, on the other hand, is known for its large and vulturine appearance. It has a long red comb-like feature with blue feathers around its neck. The bird is considered to be the largest and most colorful species. 

Also, most species feed mostly on seeds, tubers, and insects and can fly short distances. But unfortunately,  Guinea fowls aren’t intelligent birds. So you’ll need to keep a keen eye on them to ensure they are not doing things that could hurt them. 

Moreover, they are noisy birds that make harsh, loud, and repetitive calls whenever they sense danger or notice something strange.

However, they can begin to make loud noises at almost nothing; they can be disturbing to the neighbors. On the other hand, they easily adapt to cold and hot climates and don’t seem to be bothered during rainy seasons. 

Also, the good thing about these birds is that they can be reared together with other birds. For example, Guinea fowls do well when reared in flocks. However, these birds require large spaces to rear because they are free-roam birds. 

Finally, knowing the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant also helps in breeding management and choices. You do not want to take care of these birds the wrong way.

Identification and Reproductive Patterns

Guinea fowls can’t easily be differentiated since they all look alike. Some features, however, stand out that help in identifying males and females. Males have large waddles, usually bigger than females, with protruding horns.

In contrast, females are usually smaller in size and have smaller waddles. Crossbreeding is possible with guinea fowls; they can be crossbred with other birds to produce offspring. Their eggs are small compared to chicken eggs, and they lay them all at once.

Furthermore, Guinea fowls lay eggs in batches and cover them with grasses to protect them from predators.

Females can lay up to 15-30 eggs all at once and usually will not start breeding until the eggs reach this number. However, the young called keets are active as soon as they hatch. 

However, they cannot survive in damp areas because being wet can cause them to die. So if you’re rearing them, you should keep them in dry places. Breeding management shows a striking difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant.

Diseases and Health

Like other birds, Guinea fowls require clean environments and medical care to ensure they are healthy. They are susceptible to bacterial diseases, parasites, coccidiosis, and many others. Proper hygiene and vaccination should help keep your birds free from infections and diseases.

What Are Any Pheasants: Characteristic Features, Habitat, and Reproduction Patterns

Characteristic Features and Habitat

Pheasants belong to the family of Phasianidae in the order of Galliformes and can be found worldwide. However, they are endemic to Eurasia, the native origin of Pheasants. Male Pheasants are colorful birds with attractive features that differentiate them from females. 

In addition, they have bright colors with dark brown plumage that has a blend of other colors with adornments.

Male Pheasants are larger than females in almost all aspects; their tails are much longer than females.  The male is usually 35 inches long with cross-barred long tails and purplish green feathers on their necks. 

However, the females are less colorful, with just brown feathers, and they have almost no other color except their plumage.

They are also smaller than males and are good at breeding. Pheasants feed on seeds, grains, insects, spiders, and earthworms. 

Furthermore, they spend most of their time on the ground but can fly short distances, especially if aggravated.

They prefer to live in woodlands or open fields, and like guinea fowls, they also make harsh calls.  Also, Pheasants can be found alone or in small flocks.

Pheasants have various species, but the most common is the phasians Colchis. Another popular species is the ornamental Pheasants that serve aesthetic purposes, such as Lady Amherst’s or golden Pheasants.

Unfortunately, pheasants have an average life span of less than one year, which is very short.

Reproductive Patterns

Male Pheasants are not always involved in the brooding process, but they can fight themselves to death over a mate. Females lay their eggs in clutches like guinea fowl and the incubation period is 23 days. 

Also, their clutch of eggs usually has 12 eggs; after hatching, the mother stays with her brood till early autumn. So here’s another striking difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant.

Differences Between Guinea Fowl and Pheasant

Let’s look at the contrasting features to identify the differences between guinea fowl and Pheasant. Identifying the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant would change your outlook on these amazing birds.

Each difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant helps you admire these beautiful birds more.

1. Identification of Sexes

 A male guinea fowl has larger wattles and helmets or casque alongside more cupping in a wattle structure.

However, looking closely at a male Pheasant, the first thing that catches your attention is its colorful plumage. Males usually have white bands around their necks, a striking difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant.

In contrast to male guinea fowls, male pheasants have brown and black markings on their bodies. You would also notice red wattles on the face, ear tufts, and a dark green head.

On the other hand, female guinea fowls have black plumage with white spots that look like their male counterparts.  

Furthermore, the only way to tell the difference would be by checking their weight since females are heavier than males.

The reverse is the case in the female Pheasants which shows another difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant. Females have dull brown colors and short tails and are usually more lightweight than males.

2. Egg Quality and Brooding Patterns

Another striking difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant is the egg quality. If you’re unsure which bird laid the egg, you can easily identify them using these features.

Guinea fowl eggs are smaller in size when compared to those of chickens but are bigger than pheasant eggs.  

However, one way to identify female eggs from one another is the size. If you rear any of these birds and the eggs get mixed, you’ve found a way out!

In addition, female guinea fowls lay their eggs in clutches of 15-30, while female Pheasants have 12 eggs per clutch.

Also, the incubation period for female guinea fowls is 28 days, but a female Pheasants incubation period is 25 days. Males don’t lay eggs, so this difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant applies only to females.

3. Habitat

One good way to identify the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant is to know preferable habitats each thrives in.

You’re most likely to find a Pheasant in open woodlands and fields. Guinea fowls are more forest dwellers, Savannah, or semi-deserts. 

Also, you can even find some guinea fowls on tree tops but don’t expect to find a Pheasant there. Pheasants spend most of their time on their ground; they don’t perch on tree tops like guinea fowls.

4 . Diseases and Infections

All birds are prone to infection if they are not properly taken care of. However, some diseases peculiar to guinea fowls can severely impact their health.

Likewise, Pheasants are also predisposed to certain diseases even though they tend to be hardy birds.  

Furthermore, Guinea fowls are more prone to colibacillosis, salmonellosis, Newcastle disease, and E- coli. Coccidiosis, blackhead, and fowl cholera are likely to affect Pheasants, among others.

Therefore, if you can identify the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant, you should know the diseases likely to affect each bird.

5. Communication Patterns

Both Pheasant and guinea fowls irritate loud noises or calls, especially when in danger or communication. However, their calls have striking differences, and it’s important to note how each bird sounds.

For example, in guinea fowls, males make calls of usually one syllable while female makes two-syllable sounds. 

In addition, the two-syllable sounds made by the female might sound like buckwheat. In contrast, male Pheasants crow throughout the year and make two-note calls during flushing. Female Pheasants also make calls for different situations, such as calling their brood together.  

The most striking difference between Pheasant and guinea fowl communication patterns is during reproduction.

The male and female Pheasants make drum beats with their wings during reproduction. Knowing the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant might be all you need to improve your breeding practices.

6. Size

Have you ever wondered which bird was bigger? A Pheasant or a guinea fowl? You will immediately notice the difference if you have seen these two birds. 

However, if you have not, size is also a good way to know the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant. The answer to this question is clear in an image of both birds. Guinea fowls are much bigger than Pheasants. 

Besides, male and female Pheasants cannot be compared in size to guinea fowls. Even their egg sizes validate this fact! Another striking difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant is worthy of note!

Helpful Tips on Taking Care of Guinea Fowls or Pheasants

You might need to employ healthy routine practices if you own any of these birds. Some practices need to be specific due to the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant. We’ve put together general routine practices that might be helpful regardless of what type of bird you’re rearing.

1. Environment Management and Sanitation

You must pay extra attention to the area where you keep your birds. Ensure they have everything they need in the proper amounts. For example, temperature regulations, humidity control, and light intensity should all be regulated to ensure the proper development of your birds.

2. Feed Management

Ensure your birds feed properly and take the exact amount of nutrition required in feed servings. Also, pay close attention to your birds during feeding to help identify sick ones quickly to avoid an outbreak.

3. Proper Vaccination and Medical Attention

Regular visits to the vet will help your birds lead healthier lives and grow properly. It would also create awareness early on possible infections and how you can prevent them.

4. Brooding Management

Extra care should be given to your birds during brooding seasons to help reduce the risk of infections. Ensure the brooding is at the right temperature, is free of predators, and is safe for the mother hen and the chicks.

Knowing the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant can also help improve brooding management if you rear both birds.


Guinea fowls and Pheasants have unique features even though they can be very similar. Both birds will not cease to amuse you if you own any of them, and they can be amazing pets.

Their similarities may not lie in their physical appearances, but both birds have genetic ties that make them similar. 

Moreover, all you need to do is know the peculiarities of both birds to get even more familiar with these amazing creatures.

Even in these similarities, these birds have striking differences; some are subtle while others are obvious.  You might be able to recognize these birds immediately, but it’s also important you know what makes them different.

Besides, there isn’t much to fuss about regarding the difference between guinea fowl and Pheasant. Hopefully, this article has shown you ways to identify them if you’re unfamiliar with them. We’ve also suggested ways to care for them. Enjoy reading through!

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