Home range size and dispersion in the helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris galeata Pallas) of the Waza National Park, Cameroon


Centre for Environmental Studies and Development in Cameroon (C.E.D.C.), PO Box 410 Maroua, Cameroon.


Field investigations of the home range size and emigration pattern of wild helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris galeata Pallas) from 1992 to 1995 showed that home range size (±95% confidence limits (CL) ) varied with season from 3·6±1·5 km2 for the dry seasons to 3·1±1·5 km2 for the rainy seasons. Home range size varied depending on whether it was estimated with data for adult males, adult females or young birds, with a higher home range size for young birds, closely followed by adult males. Group size (±95%CL) varied by month, and was highest between March and April (47·0±8·1 birds/group) and lowest in August 9·0±5·1 birds/group). More young birds (±95%CL) (36·8±19·6%) dispersed than adult males (21·1±1·9%) or adult females (13·5±1·8%). There was a highly significant positive correlation between group size and the number of birds emigrating from the group. There was also a significant negative correlation between the weights of birds at tagging and the percentage that emigrated during the first year of study but not later. This is suggested to be linked to the high number of young birds emigrating, since they weigh relatively less than adults. The lack of correlation between body weight and number of birds emigrating a year or later after birds were tagged was thought to be due to the fact that birds tagged while young attained adult weight within a year.