This family of insect
and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resemble partridges
, but with featherless
heads, though both members of the genus Guttera
have a distinctive black crest, and the Vulturine Guineafowl has a downy brown patch on the nape. Most species of guineafowl have a dark grey or blackish plumage
with dense white spots, but both members of the genus Agelastes
lack the spots (as do some domestic
variants of the Helmeted Guineafowl). While several species are relatively well known, the Plumed Guineafowl and the two members of the genus Agelastes
remain relatively poorly known.
The species for which the information is known are normally monogamous
, mating for life. However, occasional bigamy
has been recorded for the Helmeted Guineafowl 
. All guineafowl are social, and typically occur in small groups.
These large birds measure from 40-71 cm (16-28 inches) in length, and weigh 700-1600 g (24-56 ounces).