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A photo of a Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), male
Red Junglefowl, Male

Red Junglefowl

Gallus gallus

The Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) is a resplendent bird, adorned with a tapestry of colors including orange, brown, red, gold, grey, white, olive, and even metallic green. The male's tail feathers, numbering fourteen, can reach lengths of up to 28 centimeters, contributing to the bird's overall length of up to 70 centimeters. The females, while less ostentatious in their plumage, are superbly camouflaged for life in the underbrush.

Identification Tips

Males are significantly larger than females and boast a kaleidoscope of decorative feathers. Their long, arching tail feathers appear black but reveal a shimmering palette of blue, purple, and green when caught in the light. Golden hackle feathers grace their neck and back. Females, in contrast, have a more subdued appearance with cryptic plumage for camouflage and smaller combs and wattles.

Habitat

Red Junglefowl favor disturbed habitats and edges, thriving in both natural and human-altered environments. They are often found near human settlements, in deforested and regenerating forests, and areas affected by slash-and-burn cultivation.

Distribution

This species is native to a broad range stretching from India, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the west, across southern China to Indochina, and southward to Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Behaviour

Red Junglefowl are naturally shy of humans, unlike their domesticated descendants. They roost in trees to avoid ground predators and exhibit a dust-bathing behavior to maintain their plumage. Males defend territories and establish dominance hierarchies, with dominant males sporting larger combs.

Song & Calls

The male Red Junglefowl's crow is a distinctive "cock-a-doodle-doo," shorter and more abrupt than that of domestic roosters. This call serves to attract mates and assert dominance over other males. They also have specific alarm calls for different predators.

Breeding

Males perform a "tidbitting" display involving bobbing movements and cluck-like calls when food is found near a female. Breeding typically occurs during the dry season, with females laying an egg daily and chicks fledging at about 4 to 5 weeks of age.

Diet and Feeding

Red Junglefowl forage for a variety of foods including fruits, seeds, insects, and small vertebrates. Chicks consume a diet richer in animal matter, while adults favor plant materials.

Conservation status

Despite being classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, wild Red Junglefowl face threats from hybridization with domesticated chickens at forest edges. Conservation efforts are focused on maintaining the genetic integrity of wild populations.

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Red Junglefowl Fun Facts

Did you know?
The Red Junglefowl is the national bird of France

Red Junglefowls on Birda

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