Types of Fowl
Fowl refers to "any of several domesticated or wild gallinaceous birds," as well as domestic chickens and birds of all kinds, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Domestic chickens and its relatives belong to the scientific classification Infraclass Galloanserae of which geese, ducks, quails, pheasants and its relatives belong, according to the Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology.
Under the Galloanserae, there are two sub-classifications, from the Order Anseriformes (composed of ducks, geese, and swans) and the Order Galliformes (chicken-like birds, like fowl, pheasants, quail and its relatives). The Anseriformes are also known as waterfowl, while the Galliformes are gamefowl or landfowl (as per Wikipedia).
Families of edible interest under the Galliformes include the Numididae (Guineafowl), Odontophoridae (New World quails), and Phasianidae (turkeys, grouse, pheasants, and partridges). Information about them from the Animal Diversity Web as cited above is under “Galliformes” by Laura Howard. The members of this Order are described as follows: “Gallinaceous birds are chicken-like in appearance, with small to large bodies and blunt-wings. Plumage coloration ranges from cryptic to dark to brightly colorful. Some gallinaceous birds have elaborate head and neck ornamentation including wattles and casques. Some are primarily arboreal and others are terrestrial.”
Families of edible interest under the Anseriformes include the Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans). Anseriformes or waterfowls “inhabit aquatic environments including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, swamps and marshes. Some taxa are found in marine environments outside of the breeding season.” The members of this Order are described in the Animal Diversity Web as follows: “Anseriform birds are medium to large birds (30-180 cm; 230 g -22.5 kg). The plumage varies from gray or brown to black and white.”
As food, these fowls are lumped under the category of poultry and game in the United States Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food. Chicken is the most recognizable fowl, with food types ranging from broiler-fryers, roasters, and stewing hens to capons, and rock Cornish hens. They differ based on the weight and age of the chickens.
Duck and goose are water fowls, which have a lot more fat content than chickens. Duck and goose fat are rendered from them and used to fry and flavor various dishes, especially in the French cuisine.
Turkey, whether fresh or frozen, is best enjoyed as a whole roasted fowl, with a stuffing inside the carcass or as a side dish. A thanksgiving bird especially in the United States, the turkey can also be roasted in parts or fried, as is common in the south. Game birds refer to fowl that grow in the wild, such as the guinea fowl and pheasant.