The gamebirds order (Galliformes) includes such diverse members as pheasants, quail, guineafowl, mallee fowl and currasows. The domestic chicken and domestic turkey are also part of this group. Many species lay large clutches of eggs. The chicks hatch out well-developed, and are able to walk and feed themselves shortly after hatching.
Scientific name: Galliformes
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
Galliformes is an order of heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds, which includes turkey, grouse, chicken, New and Old World quail, ptarmigan, partridge, pheasant, and the Cracidae. The name derives from "gallus," Latin for "cock" or "rooster". Common names are gamefowl or gamebirds, landfowl, gallinaceous birds or galliforms. "Wildfowl" or just "fowl" are also often used for Galliformes, but usually these terms also refer to waterfowl (Anseriformes), and occasionally to other commonly hunted birds. This group has about 290 species, one or more of which are found in essentially every part of the world's continents (except for the innermost deserts and perpetual ice). They are more rare on islands, and in contrast to the closely related waterfowl are essentially absent from oceanic islands—unless introduced there by humans. Several species have been domesticated during their long and extensive relationship with humans.
This order contains five families: Phasianidae (including chicken, quail, partridges, pheasants, turkeys, and grouse), Odontophoridae (New World quails), Numididae (guineafowl), Cracidae (including chachalacas and curassows), and Megapodiidae (incubator birds like mallee fowl and brush-turkeys). They are important as seed dispersers and predators in the ecosystems they inhabit, and are often reared as game birds by humans for their meat and eggs and for recreational hunting. Many gallinaceous species are skilled runners and escape predators by running rather than flying. Males of most species are more colorful than the females. Males often have elaborate courtship behaviors that include strutting, fluffing of tail or head feathers, and vocal sounds. They are mainly non-migratory.
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