Common Guineafowl Numida meleagris meleagris (Linnaeus)

These birds are found in "the Lake Chad region eastward across Chad and Sudan, the Kordofan province and the White Nile as far south as Bahr and Ghazal. It continues eastward through northern Ethiopia and Djibouti across to Yemen and Asir in Saudi Arabia" (Belshaw 1985).

They are also called the Helmeted Guineafowl, Tufted Guineafowl or the Bristle Nosed Guineafowl. Fly tiers know this bird as Gallina.

Historically, feathers from the Common Guineafowl have been used by African natives in headdresses and cloaks, the millinery trade incorporated plumage from this bird into hats, early artists used Guineafowl feathers in their craft, and fly tiers incorporated the feathers into various dressings.

For trout flies, Common Guineafowl neck feathers were used mainly as hackles and "whisks" for nymphs. They were used in their natural, black and white coloration, or were dyed various shades of olive. Examples of wet flies that call for using Guineafowl as hackle include the Jock, Sawtooth, Romaine, Poorman, and R.B. Nymphs No. 1, 2, 5, and 6.

Called Gallina or Gallena in nineteenth century salmon fly tying literature,Guineafowl breast, flank, wing, and tail feathers, are commonly used in salmon flies. While the breast and flank feathers are most often used as hackles, a few dressings call for sections of wing and tail feathers for wings. Fibers from the wings and tail feathers are rather short and therefore suited only to smaller flies. Examples of full dressed salmon flies that use guineafowl feathers include Black Spean, Trumpers Black, Chatterer, Black Doctor, and Nansen. Guineafowl body feathers have also been used for hackle in hairwing salmon flies, such as the Silver Doctor and the Jock Scott.

If you want to know more about the guinea fowl and other birds related to our fly tying heritage, we suggest you order Rare and Unusual Fly Tying Materials: A Natural History.