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|Red Jungle Fowl
Gallus gallus. It is believed that the domestic chicken was initially bred from this wild species. The exact time of its domestication is unknown, but there are some Asiatic records of it dating back more than 3,000 years.
The plumage is gold, red, brown, dark maroon, and orange, with hints of metallic green and gray. There are two white patches on either side of the head, which distinguishes this species from other fowl, as do its grayish feet. The cock has fleshy appendages, comb and lappets on his head, and is stouter than the hen.
Distribution and Habitat
The red jungle fowl is native to Southern Asia, particularly the jungles of India, southern China and the Indonesian islands (except for Borneo). It lives in thick secondary forest, and feeds in adjacent open areas.
Breeding can occur at any time of the year, but is usually confined to the rainy season. Unmated males challenge the established cocks by crowing and clapping their wings over their backs. When fights break out they are fierce and serious injury is not uncommon. The victor courts the hen by waltzing around her with one wing lowered to the ground, and rubbing the primary feathers of that wing with the nearest foot to produce a rasping sound.
Two to four eggs are laid, one per day, into a hollow scraped into the ground, and incubated for 19 to 21 days. Chicks are fully feathered by four to five weeks of age, are chased out of the nest at about 12 weeks, and reach sexual maturity at about five months.
Red jungle fowl live in small flocks of one cock with two to five hens. They roost 15 to 20 feet up in the bamboos, coming out in the morning to feed and drink.
Food consists of just about anything that can be found in the leaf litter and soil of the forest floor, including green plants, seeds, berries, earthworms, insects, and other small animals. Like other fowl, Gallus gallus scratch at the ground violently with their strong toes and then step back to search for anything edible that may have been uncovered.
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This page was last updated on April 29, 2017.