|Photo by Tom Stephenson (Discover Life)|
The red junglefowl originates from southern and south-east Asia, from India eastward through Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, into southern China, Myanmar, Thailand and south to Malaysia and Indonesia. The domestic chicken is the domesticated form of the red junglefowl and is found worldwide.
In this species males are larger, being 65-75 cm long and weighing 670-1450 g. The smaller female is 42-46 cm long and weighs 485-1050 g.
Habitat:The red junglefowl occupies most tropical and subtropical habitats throughout its extensive range, including mangroves, scrubland and plantations, although it seems to prefer flat or gently sloping terrain, forest edges and secondary forest. It is also found in the foothills of the Himalayas up to an altitude of 2.500 m.
Diet:The red junglefowl eats corn, soybean, worms, grass, and different kinds of grains found on the ground. They can also eat insects and fruits.
These birds breed in March-September. Dominant males maintain a territory with 3-5 females and have little participation in the breeding process after mating. Each female nests in a scrape on the ground, laying 4-6 eggs. She incubates the eggs alone for 18-21 days. The chicks leave the next within hours after hatching but remain in the family group for about 12 weeks until their mother chases them away.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although global population size has not been quantified, the red junglefowl is reported to be widespread and common to locally common. The species is declining owing to habitat loss and degradation and over-hunting for food. Genetic pollution due to hybridization with free-ranging domestic chickens may also pose a threat to this species, but it is not considered threatened at present.