1328. Gallus ferrugineus

1328. Gallus ferrugineus.

The Red Jungle-fowl.

Phasianus gallus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p., 270 (1706). Tetrao ferrugineus, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, 2, p. 761 (1788). Gallus bankiva, Temm. Pig. et Gall, ii, p. 87 (1813); Gray in Hardw. Ill Ind. Zool. i, pl. 43, tig. 3 . Gallus ferrugineus, Blyth, Cat. p. 242; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 536; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 154; Blanford, J. A. S. B. xxxvi, pt. 2, p. 199; Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 381; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 272; xiv, pt. 2, p. 83; Hume, N. & E. p. 528 ; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 426 ; vii, p. 225 ; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 148 ; Hume Marsh. Game B. i, p. 217, pl.; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 669; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 442, 521 ; Hume, Cat. no. 812 ; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 348 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 322; Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 423 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 304; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 417. Gallus gallus, Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 344.

Jangal-murgh , Jangli-murghi , Ban murghi, H.; Kukar, Kukra Bankukar, Bengali, &c.; Ganja, Uriya; Tang-kling, Lepcha ; Nag-tse-ja, Bhot.; Bir-sim, Kol.; Gera gogor , Kuru , Gond. ; Tau-kyet, Burm.

Coloration. Male. Crown and long hackles at back and sides of neck and on lower throat golden brown to orange-red, pale-shafted, passing on the longer neck-hackles into straw-yellow, generally with lanceolate dark brown shaft-stripes; upper back with the smaller and greater secondary-coverts black, glossed green or purple ; scapulars and median coverts glossy chestnut-red; quills and primary-coverts blackish brown, with metallic gloss on the tertiaries; narrow outer edges of primaries pale, and broad outer borders of secondaries and tertiaries dull cinnamon; lower back and rump very dark chestnut, shading into golden red or orange on the ends of the long lanceolate feathers at the sides of the rump; long upper tail-coverts and tail black with green or purple gloss ; lower parts from neck brownish black with little or no gloss.

After the breeding-season, about June, the long hackles and tail-feathers are replaced by short black feathers, but are resumed by a second moult in September.

Female. Crown dull rufous, dark-shafted; forehead and super-cilia, continued as a band round the fore neck, bright chestnut; back and sides of neck blackish, the feathers edged with dirty yellow ; upper parts finely vermiculated black and brown, with narrow yellowish-white shaft-lines ; quills and tail dark brown, the outer webs of the secondaries and of the inner tail-feathers, and both webs of the median rectrices, finely mottled with pale yellow ; lower plumage light rufous brown, with paler shaft-stripes; chin and throat light brownish grey.

Chicks have a fawn-coloured head, with a deep rufous black-edged triangular patch on the nape, pointed in front; a black stripe from behind each eye ; a chestnut back, bordered by creamy and black stripes ; and grey wings, spotted with white.

Bill dark brown, reddish towards the base in males, horny brown in females ; irides light red to orange-red ; comb and wattles crimson ; sides of face paler red. There is in this species a second pair of lappets, one beneath each ear, white or pinky white in Indian, red like the comb in Burmese and Malayan birds. Legs and feet plumbeous or slaty.

Length of male about 26; tail 11 to 13; wing 9; tarsus 3; bill from gape T25. Length of female about 17; tail 6; wing 7.25; tarsus 2.4 ; bill from gape 1.

Distribution. Throughout the Lower Himalayas from Assam to Kashmir, also throughout Bengal, Orissa, the Northern Circars, Assam, and the countries to the southward, all Burma and the Malay Peninsula, with Sumatra, Siam, and Cochin China. In the Peninsula of India, south of the Gangetic plain, the limit of this species, as Capt. Forsyth showed, is approximately the same as that of the sal-tree (Shorea robusta), the Red Jungle-fowl being found as far west as Mandla, Raipur, and Bastar, and south to the Godavari above Rajahmundry. An isolated wood of sal-trees in the Denwa valley, close to Pachmarhi, is inhabited by Gallus ferrugineus, though G. sonnerati occurs all around and for 150 miles to the eastward. G. ferrugineus occurs in Java and in many of the other Malay islands besides Sumatra, but it has probably been introduced. No Jungle-fowl are known to occur on the Andamans or Nicobars, but some wild birds, doubtless descended from tame progenitors, are met with on the Great and Little Cocos.

The Burmese race has a red ear-lappet, as have most domestic birds; its crow, too, is more like that of tame cocks, and it is said to be more easily domesticated than the Indian form with a white ear-lappet.

Habits, &c. Though essentially a forest bird this Jungle-fowl is often found feeding in cultivated ground near forest in the mornings and evenings. It ascends the Himalayas and breeds up to an elevation of about 5000 feet, keeping much to the valleys. The calls of both sexes resemble those of tame birds, but the cock's crow is shorter, especially the concluding note. The cocks are highly pugnacious, especially in the breeding-season, which lasts from the end of March to July in the Himalayas, but commences rather earlier to the southward. The hens lay usually 5 to 6 pale buff eggs, sometimes more (9 and even 11 have been found in one nest), in a hollow on the ground, sometimes well lined with grass and dead leaves, but often with little or no lining. The eggs measure about 1.78 by 1.36. Jungle-fowl afford fair shooting when they can be driven by men or elephants and made to fly, and young birds in the cold season are excellent to eat.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
1328. Gallus ferrugineus
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Red Jungle Fowl
Red Junglefowl
Gallus gallus
Vol. 4
Term name: 

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