The social organization of marked Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris
) was studied in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve (Gauteng Province, South Africa) during March 1982 to February 1984. Flock members (7-10 guineafowl) did not associate randomly. Helmeted Guineafowl must live in a sociable flock to survive in the wild. The highest ranking male (male A) formed the pivot of the daily activities of the flock, such as determining foraging direction. High ranking males (males A and B) associated closely to repulse conspecific intruders. Breeding females associated more often with the high ranking males during the breeding season. Although a pecking order was established among males, the frequency of agonistic actions within the flock was very low, which suggests that agonistic interactions are limited to maintain cohesion. Adult females remained between the dominant male and the juveniles to minimize victimization. The second highest ranking male (B) took center stage while the dominant male and his female left temporarily to breed and then the rest of the flock clustered around him to maintain the cohesive nature of the flock. Most adults assisted with the brooding of the chicks of the highest ranking male. Flocking is, among other functions, a predator surveillance strategy that enables the Helmeted Guineafowl to forage under conditions with very limited ground cover and to maximize food finding during winter.