Breed Profile: Red Jungle Fowl

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

21 March 2014

Red jungle fowl chicken in Penthouse backyard chicken coop

The Red Jungle Fowl is thought to be the ancestor of the domestic chicken. The jungle fowl was domesticated over 5,000 years ago in Asia and has since spread around the world. The red Jungle fowl is a renowned dual-purpose breed.

HISTORY

  • Origin: Asia
  • Size: 1.3-2 kg
  • Rarity: Common
  • Five recognized Variations: the Indian red Jungle Fowl, the Burmese red jungle fowl, the Tonkinese red jungle fowl, the Cochin-Chinese red jungle fowl, the Javan red jungle fowl.

EGG FACTS

  • Tinted
  • 250-300 Eggs Average Annually

FEATURES

Male and female Red Jungle Fowls show very strong sexual dimorphism. Males are much larger; they have large red fleshy wattles and comb on the head and long, bright gold and bronze feathers forming a "shawl" or "cape" over the back of the bird from the neck to the lower back. The tail is composed of long, arching feathers that initially look black but shimmer with blue, purple and green in good light. The female's plumage is typical of this family of birds in being cryptic and having evolved for camouflage as she alone looks after the eggs and chicks. She also has no fleshy wattles or comb on the head.

BACKYARD BEHAVIOUR

  • Hardy in Winter: Yes
  • Especially Docile: No
  • Personality: Males make a food-related display called 'tidbitting', performed upon finding food in the presence of a female. The display is composed of coaxing, cluck-like calls and eye-catching bobbing and twitching motions of the head and neck. During the performance, the male repeatedly picks up and drops the food item with his beak. The display usually ends when the hen takes the food item either from the ground or directly from the male’s beak and is associated with copulations and more offspring. Males produce anti-predator alarm calls.

Sources and further reading

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