ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Fowl
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Guinea fowl
Helmeted Guinea fowl
Cockerel, tomb of Petosiris
Tomb of Petosiris -

The helmeted Guinea fowl

    This bird, (Numida melegris), was only rarely seen wild in Lower Egypt. It became domesticated, but the Egyptians generally preferred to keep the more amenable waterfowl. [3] In classical times it had spread to Greece. [2]
    Another kind of guinea fowl, Numida ptilorhynca was endemic in eastern Africa [2]


    Possibly derived from the African Jungle Fowl [1] or imported from the subcontinent after being domesticated in India and other parts of Asia, the domestic chicken may have appeared in Egypt during the New Kingdom. It remained rare during pharaonic times.

[1] Ian Shaw & Paul Nicholson, Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press 1995, p.33
[2] Thurstan Shaw, Paul Sinclair, Bassey Andah, Alex Okpoko, The Archaeology of Africa, Routledge 1995, p.62
[3] Joan Pilsbury Alcock, Food in the ancient world, Greenwood 2006, p.72

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Changes: June 2009