Grey Jungle fowl also known as Sonnerat’s Jungle fowl is a wild relative of domestic fowl found in India. The birds is found in most of Peninsular India, while the Red Junglefowl is found more along the foothills of the Himalayas.
Grey Jungle Fowl is a beautiful species that originates from the fertile and exotically multifaceted terrains of India. During mating season, male members of this species feature exuberantly deep red combs, and sport long, waxy-textured hackles. In fact, these hackles were in such high demand among fly-tyers at the turn of the 20th century, that the Grey Jungle Fowl nearly went extinct due to uncontrolled trapping and collection.
Phylogenetic studies of Jungle fowl show that this species is closely related to the Ceylon Jungle fowl Gallus lafayetii and more distantly to the Red Jungle fowl, Gallus gallus.
Grey Jungle Fowl
The male has a black cape with golden/yellow color spots and its waxy, waterproof plumage is greyish/brown and finely patterned. It has a red wattle and comb and red legs which have spurs. On its neck are long dark feathers which end in a small yellow plate. Males molt their colorful neck feathers during or after the summer breeding season. The central tail feathers are long and curved
The female is much duller in appearance which is typical of most female birds. They have brown and white streaks on their underparts and a finely patterned yellow cape draping their neck and shoulders. The female’s legs are yellow and lack the spurs that the males have.
grey jungle fowl
The Grey Jungle Fowl reaches the level of sexual maturity at approximately two years of age. It usually breeds between the month of March -July. Eggs incubate for 21 days. The average clutch size is between 4-6. Males can breed to more than one hen per year. Males becomes very noisy during the breeding season.
In the wild, Grey Jungle Fowls feed on bamboo seeds, berries, termites and various insects. Likewise, raising these fowls in captivity calls for a similar diet. A suggested mixture comprise of small dog food, seasonal pulp seed fruits, and game bird pellets. Finally, care should be taken in feeding. Feeding dishes should be elevated from the ground, with just enough feed to be consumed within a few hours.
Grey Jungle fowl are classed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN. Although these birds are plentiful, they are still hunted for meat and the long neck hackle feathers which are used for making fishing lures. Habitat loss is also another threat to the Grey Jungle fowl.