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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jungle fowl

Jungle fowl

The Sri Lankan Junglefowl, also known during the colonial era as the Ceylon Junglefowl, is a member of the Galliformes bird which is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is the national bird. It is closely related to the Red Junglefowl (G. gallus), the wild junglefowl from which the chicken was domesticated. The specific name of the Sri Lankan Junglefowl commemorates the French aristocrat Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette. In Sinhala it is known as Wali Kukula.
As with other junglefowl, the Sri Lankan Junglefowl is strongly sexually dimorphic: the male is much larger than the female, with more vivid plumage and a highly exaggerated wattle and comb.

The male Sri Lankan Junglefowl ranges from 66–73 cm (26–29 in) in length and 790–1,140 g (1.7–2.5 lb) in weight, essentially resembling a large, muscular rooster.The male has orange-red body plumage, and dark purple to black wings and tail. The feathers of the mane descending from head to base of spine are golden, and the face has bare red skin and wattles. The comb is red with a yellow centre. As with the Green Junglefowl, the cock does not possess an eclipse plumage.

The female is much smaller, at only 35 cm (14 in) in length and 510–645 g (1.1–1.42 lb) in weight, with dull brown plumage with white patterning on the lower belly and breast, ideal camouflage for a nesting bird.

It lays 2-4 eggs in a nest either on the forest floor in steep hill country or in the abandoned nests of other birds and squirrels.Male Sri Lankan Junglefowl play an active role in nest protection and chick rearing.
The reproductive strategy of this species is best described as facultative polyandry, in that a single female is typically linked with two or three males that form a pride of sorts. These males are likely to be siblings. The female pairs with the alpha male of the pride and nests high off the ground.
Her eggs are highly variable in colour but generally are cream with a yellow or pink tint. Purple or brownish spots are common.Occasionally a female will produce red eggs or blotched eggs.The hen incubates her eggs, while the alpha male guards her nest from a nearby perch during the nesting season. The beta males remain in close proximity as well guarding the nesting territory from intruders or potential predators, such as rival males, or snakes and mongooses. Sri Lankan Junglefowl are unique amongst the junglefowl in the brevity of their incubation, which may be as short as twenty days.

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