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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 30 years (captivity) Observations: Chickens are considered a relatively short-lived and fast ageing species (Holmes et al. 2003). The maximum longevity in captivity of these birds, however, has been reported to be 30 years (http://www.demogr.mpg.de/longevityrecords). This is not impossible considering the large number of animals kept in captivity, yet remains unproven. For comparative analyses the use of a more conservative value for maximum longevity, such as 15 or 20 years, is recommended. Domestic chicken reach sexual maturity before six months of age.
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Reproduction

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The breeding season of the red junglfowl is spring and summer. The chicks will start their lives in the warmth of the summer sun. An egg is laid each day. For twenty-one days before hatching, the chick will develop inside of the egg. On the first day, the heart and blood vessels of the chick develop and start to work. At the end of the first day, the head starts to take shape. By the fourth day, all organs of the future chick are present. On the fifth day, external sex structure developed. By the thirteenth day, the skeleton begins to calcify using the calcium from the eggshell. From the time when the egg is laid until hatching, the chick feeds on the yolk that surrounds him. The yolk penetrate in the chick body by the umbilicus. On the twenty-first day, the chick, now fully developed, starts to break through his thin shell. This action can take anywhere from ten to twenty hours. (North and Bell 1990)

By four to five weeks of age, the chicks are normally fully feathered. Their first adult wings' feather will take another four weeks to grow. When the chicks are twelve weeks old, the mother chases them out of the group. They will then go on to form their own group or join another. At five months old, the chicks reach sexual maturity. The females reach sexual maturity a little later than the males. (Limburg 1975)

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Untitled

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Gallus gallus can live up to ten years. The molting process, taking the old feathers and putting new ones on, for an adult, takes about three to four months every year. The memory of the red junglefowl is very short. (North and Bell 1990)

Domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, are believed to have originated from a continental population of Gallus gallus gallus.

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Conservation Status

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Red junglefowl have been mostly genetically interbred with domestic and feral chickens, as a survey of 745 museum specimens has shown. A sign of pure wild genotypes for G. gallus is, for males, an eclipse plumage. This eclipse plumage has been seen only in populations in the western and central of the species' geographic range. It is believed that G. gallus has disappeared from extreme south-eastern Asia and the Phillippines. This suggestion is supported by an intense scientific collection made in 1860. In the 1960's, studies in north-eastern India revealed a population of red junglefowl exhibiting the eclipse plumage. The purity of the species is in danger because of the region's dense human population, whose domestic chickens could continue to contaminate G. gallus genetically. (Peterson and Brisbin 1999)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Benefits

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Gallus gallus is such an easy animal to take care of and can find food for himself that it does not have a negative impact on economy or humans. (Limburg 1975, Phillips 1999)

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Benefits

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These birds are used mainly for eggs and meat production. The red junglefowl is sometimes used for cock fighting or chicken competitions. Gallus gallus feathers were used for pillows and mattress. (Limburg 1975, Peterson and Brisbin 1999)

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Trophic Strategy

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Gallus gallus is an herbivore and insectivore. Red junglefowls eat corn, soybean, worms, grass, and different kinds of grains found on the ground. They cannot detect sweet tastes. They can detect salt, but most red junglefowl do not like it. (Damerow 1995, Limburg 1975, Ponnampalam 2000)

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Distribution

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Gallus gallus is native to Southern Asia, particularly the jungles of India. Gallus gallus spread all over the world when people domesticated the chicken. This account primarily discusses the wild species (Philips 1999, Stevens 1991, Peterson and Brisbin 1999)

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Habitat

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Gallus gallus lives in thick secondary forest or lush belukar. In the morning or evening, the bird can be found in an open area by wide earthen tracts or clearing, where the red junglefowl finds food. Sometimes G. gallus can be seen in oil-palm estates. (Ponnampalam 2000)

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
30.0 years.

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Morphology

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Gallus gallus' plumage is gold, red, brown, dark maroon, orange, with a bit of metallic green and gray. There are also some white and olive feathers. Two white patches, shaped like an ear, appear on either side of the head. Gallus gallus can be distinguish from other chickens not only by these white patches, but also by the grayish feet. The red junglefowl can measure up to 70 centimeters in length. They have a total of fourteen tail feathers. Gallus gallus rooster tails can be almost 28 centimeter in length.

The red junglefowl rooster is said to be more brilliantly colored that its tame relative. During June to October, G. gallus moults into an eclipse plumage. An eclipse plumage is, for male, black long feather across the middle of his back and slender red-orange plumes on the rest of his body. For a female, an eclipse plumage cannot be distiguished, but she does moult. The female red junglefowl is leaner than tame hens. (North and Bell 1990, Ponnampalam 2000, Stevens 1991, Peterson and Brisbin 1999)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 2580.2 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 6.005 W.

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Gautier, Z. 2002. "Gallus gallus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gallus_gallus.html
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Biology

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The red junglefowl lives in small mixed flocks during the non-breeding season - summer, autumn and winter (3). These have a hierarchical social system in which there is a 'pecking order' for both males and females (4). In the spring, at the onset of the breeding season, each of the stronger cocks maintains a territory with three to five hens (3). Meanwhile, young cocks live isolated in twos and threes. Studies have shown that the offspring of top roosters are more likely to grow up to be leaders than are those of low-ranking males, and that hierarchy may have a genetic component. Experiments have shown that females have the ability to retain or eject sperm, and that they consistently retain the sperm of the one or two dominant roosters in the group and eject that of all others (9). Hens produce four to seven, typically four to six, eggs per clutch, which are incubated for 18 to 20 days by the female only (2) (4). At twelve weeks of age, the young are chased out of the social group by their mother, and go off to join another group or form their own (4). Red junglefowl forage on the ground for seeds, fruit and insects, using their feet to scratch away the leaf-litter in search of food (5).
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Conservation

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With as much hybridisation in captivity as in the wild, both between pure and domestic stock and between the five subspecies, a studbook has now been developed and many breeders are having their birds' DNA tested for purity (8). The World Pheasant Association is also undertaking extensive DNA research, but sadly virtually all the birds in captivity in Europe have been found to display hybridised genes (10). It seems that its domestic descendents will be the undoing of this unique wild bird, which has been quietly slipping into genetic extinction, before the world was even aware of, and could appropriately respond to, the situation (7). In the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, where local people appear never to have allowed free roaming domestic poultry, due to high numbers of predators such as leopards (panthera pardus) and leopard cats (felis bengalensis), junglefowl that retain traditional morphology continue to exist and are currently the subject of considerable research (10).
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Description

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Red junglefowl are the wild ancestors of all domestic poultry (3), although the rooster is said to be more brilliantly colored than its tame relative (4). The vibrant male has long, golden-orange to deep-red crown and neck feathers, and a dark metallic-green tail with a white tuft at the base. The underparts are a dull black while the upperparts are a combination of glossy blue-green, rich dark red, maroon-red, fiery orange, rufous and blackish brown (3). The colourful cock also has vivid scarlet-red facial skin, throat, two lappets and heavily dented fleshy crest (comb), and red or white ear patches on the sides of the head (3) (4) (5). The rather drab female is a dull brown-gold colour (6) with a partly naked, pale red face and throat (3). After the summer moult, from June to September, the male develops an 'eclipse plumage', in which the golden neck feathers (hackles) are replaced with dull black feathers, the long tail feathers are lost, and the comb reduces in size and becomes duller in colour (3) (4). With much hybridisation between pure and domestic stock, the standard criteria of pure wild junglefowl include the tail being carried horizontally in both sexes, the absence of a comb in the female, and dark or slate grey leg colour and an annual eclipse moult in the male (3) (7). There are five subspecies, which vary in the colour of the facial lappets, in the size of the combs, and in the length, colour and terminal end shape of the neck hackles of males during the breeding season (2) (8).
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Habitat

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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 (2) (4). It is also found in the foothills of the Himalayas. Found from sea level up to around 2,500 metres (2).
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Range

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Native to Southern and Southeast Asia (6), from India eastward and south through Indonesia, but the domestic form is found worldwide and hybridisation is widespread (8). Five subspecies are usually recognised: the Indian red junglefowl (G. g. murghi) occurs in north and northeast India, adjacent Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh; the Burmese red junglefowl (G. g. spadiceus) in southwest Yunnan (China) and adjacent east Arunachal Pradesh (India), Myanmar, Thailand (except East), Peninsular Malaysia and north Sumatra; the Tonkinese red junglefowl (G. g. jabouillei) in southeast Yunnan and Hainan (China) and north Vietnam; the Cochin-Chinese red junglefowl (G. g. gallus) in east Thailand through central and south Laos, and Cambodia to central and south Vietnam; and the Javan red junglefowl (G. g. bankiva) in south Sumatra, Java and Bali (2) (8) (11).
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Status

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Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).
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Threats

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The red junglefowl is generally considered common and widespread despite habitat loss and poaching within its range (5) (8). The bird is affected relatively little by habitat loss because it can occupy a variety of habitats, including secondary vegetation and man-made habitats, such as rubber and oil-palm plantations and planted fields on forest edges (2) (10). However, it has recently come to light that genetic contamination through interbreeding with domestic and feral chickens poses the real threat, pushing pure wild junglefowl to the verge of extinction (4) (8). Eclipse plumage, one of the indicators of pure stock, is now only seen in populations in the western and central regions of the species' geographic range, and it is therefore feared that the pure form of this colourful bird has disappeared completely from extreme south-east Asia. Due to the high density of the human population, whose domestic chickens could continue to contaminate the red junglefowl genetically, the purity of the species, where it remains, is in constant danger (4) (7) (10).
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Red junglefowl

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"Gallus gallus" redirects here. For other subspecies, see Chicken.

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Gallus gallus - MHNT

The red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) is a tropical member of the family Phasianidae. It is the primary progenitor of the domestic chicken (though genetic evidence strongly suggests some past hybridisation with the grey junglefowl, as well).[2] The red junglefowl was first domesticated at least 5000 years ago in Asia. Since then, it has spread around the world, and the domestic form is kept globally as a very productive food source of both meat and eggs.[3]

Range

The range of the wild form stretches from India, eastwards across Indochina and southern China and into Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Junglefowl are established on several of the Hawaiian Islands, including Kauai, but these are feral descendants of domestic chickens. They can also be found on Christmas Island, Vanuatu, and the Mariana Islands.

Each of these various regions had its own subspecies of Gallus gallus, including:

  • G. g. gallus – from Indochina
  • G. g. bankiva – from Java
  • G. g. jabouillei – from Vietnam
  • G. g. murghi – from India and Bangladesh
  • G. g. spadiceus – from Burma
  • G. g. domesticus – (domestic chicken)

Sexual dimorphism

The male's 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 adapted for camouflage. She alone looks after the eggs and chicks. She also has no fleshy wattles, and a very small comb on the head.

During their mating season, the male birds announce their presence with the well known "cock-a-doodle-doo" call or crowing. Male red junglefowl have a shorter crowing sound than domestic roosters; the call cuts off abruptly at the end.[4] This serves both to attract potential mates and to make other male birds in the area aware of the risk of fighting a breeding competitor. A spur on the lower leg just behind and above the foot serves in such fighting. Their call structure is complex and they have distinctive alarm calls for aerial and ground predators to which others react appropriately.[5][6]

Behaviour

Drab female walking on stones
Female red junglefowl
Colorful male on forest floor
Male red junglefowl

Males make a food-related display called "tidbitting", performed upon finding food in the presence of a female.[7] 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. Breeding then occurs.[8] Males that produce antipredator alarm calls[9] appear to be preferred by females.[10]

They are omnivorous and feed on insects, seeds, and fruits, including those that are cultivated such as those of the oil palm.[11]

Red junglefowl regularly bathe in dust to keep just the right balance in their plumage. The dust absorbs extra oil and subsequently falls off.[12]

Flight in these birds is almost purely confined to reaching their roosting areas at sunset in trees or any other high and relatively safe places free from ground predators, and for escape from immediate danger through the day.

refer to caption
Illustration of male and female red junglefowl

Violent sexual coercion has been observed in red junglefowl.

Domestication

See also: Chicken

In 2012, a study examined mitochondrial DNA recovered from ancient bones from Europe, Thailand, the Pacific, and Chile, and from Spanish colonial sites in Florida and the Dominican Republic, in directly dated samples originating in Europe at 1,000 BP and in the Pacific at 3,000 BP. The study showed that chickens were most likely domesticated from wild red junglefowl, though some have suggested possible genetic contributions from other junglefowl species. Domestication occurred at least 7,400 years ago from a common ancestor flock in the bird's natural range, then proceeded in waves both east and west. The earliest undisputed domestic chicken remains are bones associated with a date around 7,400 BP from the Chishan site, in the Hebei province of China. In the Ganges region of India, red junglefowl were being used by humans as early as 7,000 years ago. No domestic chicken remains older than 4,000 years have been identified in the Indus Valley, and the antiquity of chickens recovered from excavations at Mohenjodaro is still debated.[3]

Hybridisation

The other three members of the genus — Sri Lanka junglefowl (G. lafayetii), grey junglefowl (G. sonneratii), and the green junglefowl (G. varius) — do not usually produce fertile hybrids with the red junglefowl, suggesting that it is the sole ancestor of the domestic chicken. However, recent research has revealed the absence of the yellow skin gene in the wild red junglefowl found in domestic birds, which suggests hybridisation with the grey junglefowl during the domestication of the species.[2] A culturally significant hybrid between the red junglefowl and the green junglefowl in Indonesia is known as the bekisar.

refer to caption
Male red junglefowl crowing on a tree branch

Purebred red junglefowl are thought to be facing a serious threat of extinction because of hybridisation at the edge of forests where domesticated free-ranging chickens are common.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Gallus gallus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ a b Eriksson, Jonas; Larson, Greger; Gunnarsson, Ulrika; Bed'hom, Bertrand; Tixier-Boichard, Michele; Strömstedt, Lina; Wright, Dominic; Jungerius, Annemieke; et al. (23 January 2008), "Identification of the Yellow Skin Gene Reveals a Hybrid Origin of the Domestic Chicken", PLoS Genetics, PLoS Genet, preprint (2008): e10, doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000010.eor, archived from the original on 25 May 2012, retrieved 7 November 2016
  3. ^ a b Storey, A.A.; et al. (2012). "Investigating the global dispersal of chickens in prehistory using ancient mitochondrial DNA signatures". PLoS ONE. 7 (7): e39171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039171. PMC 3405094. PMID 22848352.
  4. ^ Wild Singapore: Red Junglefowl, updated 9 October, accessed 1 January 2014.
  5. ^ Collias, N. E. (1987), "The vocal repertoire of the red junglefowl: A spectrographic classification and the code of communication", The Condor, 89 (3): 510–524, doi:10.2307/1368641, JSTOR 1368641
  6. ^ Evans, C. S.; Macedonia, J. M.; Marler, P. (1993), "Effects of apparent size and speed on the response of chickens, Gallus gallus, to computer-generated simulations of aerial predators", Animal Behaviour, 46 (1): 1–11, doi:10.1006/anbe.1993.1156
  7. ^ Animal Behaviour Lab Dr Chris Evans, Galliform.bhs.mq.edu.au, 15 November 2006, archived from the original on 2 May 2009, retrieved 22 April 2009
  8. ^ Home, Galliform.bhs.mq.edu.au, archived from the original on 11 December 2008, retrieved 22 April 2009
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Macquarie University – Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal Behaviour, Galliform.bhs.mq.edu.au, 15 August 2008, archived from the original on 11 August 2009, retrieved 22 April 2009
  11. ^ Arshad MI; M Zakaria; AS Sajap; A Ismail (2000), "Food and feeding habits of Red Junglefowl" (PDF), Pakistan J. Bio. Sci., 3 (6): 1024–1026, doi:10.3923/pjbs.2000.1024.1026[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Brinkley, Edward S., and Jane Beatson. "Fascinating Feathers ." Birds. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Children's Books, 2000. 15. Print.
  13. ^ I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., Concerns for the genetic integrity and conservation status of the red junglefowl, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802 (with permission from SPPA Bulletin, 1997, 2(3):1-2): FeatherSite, retrieved 19 September 2007
  14. ^ Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, archived from the original on 18 September 2007
  15. ^ Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) page & links
  16. ^ Tomas P. Condon, Morphological and Behavioral Characteristics of Genetically Pure Indian Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus murghi, archived from the original on 29 June 2007, retrieved 19 September 2007
  17. ^ Hawkins, W.P. (n.d.). Carolinas/Virginia Pheasant & Waterfowl Society. Red Junglefowl – Pure Strain, Cvpws.com, retrieved 19 September 2007
  18. ^ Gautier, Z. 2002. Gallus gallus (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed 19 September 2007, Animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu, retrieved 22 April 2009
  19. ^ Genetic invasion threatens red jungle fowl, Wildlife Trust of India, New Delhi, 9 January 2006, retrieved 19 September 2007
  20. ^ "Red Junglefowl genetically swamped", Tragopan No. 12, p. 10, World Birdwatch 22 (2), 1 June 2000, retrieved 19 September 2007, According to some scientists, truly wild populations of the red junglefowl Gallus gallus are either extinct or in grave danger of extinction due to introgression of genes from domestic or feral chickens
  21. ^ "Red Junglefowl – Species factsheet: Gallus gallus", BirdLife Species Factsheet, BirdLife International, 2007, retrieved 20 September 2007
  22. ^ Peterson, A.T. & Brisbin, I. L. Jr. (1999), "Genetic endangerment of wild red junglefowl (Gallus gallus)", Bird Conservation International, 9: 387–394, doi:10.1017/s0959270900002148
  23. ^ Brisbin, I. L. Jr. (1969), "Behavioral differentiation of wildness in two strains of Red Junglefowl (abstract)", Am. Zool., 9: 1072

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Red junglefowl: Brief Summary

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"Gallus gallus" redirects here. For other subspecies, see Chicken.

 src= Gallus gallus - MHNT

The red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) is a tropical member of the family Phasianidae. It is the primary progenitor of the domestic chicken (though genetic evidence strongly suggests some past hybridisation with the grey junglefowl, as well). The red junglefowl was first domesticated at least 5000 years ago in Asia. Since then, it has spread around the world, and the domestic form is kept globally as a very productive food source of both meat and eggs.

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