Animal of the Week: Grey Junglefowl, Bandipur, India

Grey junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii)

Great place to see the grey junglefowl: Bandipur, India

If you remember how, in a lot of stories in South India, the morning begins with the familiar call of a fowl, then you know what bird we’re talking about this week. One of the wild ancestor of the domestic chicken, the grey junglefowl is also known as Sonnerat’s junglefowl and is endemic to India. It is responsible for the yellow pigment in the legs of all the domesticated chicken.

The male has a finely patterned body plumage, a ochre-spotted black cape and sickle-shaped tail feathers. It has red wattles and combs. The female is relatively duller. This bird lives in thickets and open scrubs. And although it dwells mainly on the ground, it flies into trees to protect itself from predators.

This bird feeds chiefly on grains – bamboo seeds and berries – and insects and termites, too. From humans, it faces the threat of being hunted for its meat and the long neck hackle feathers that are used to make fishing lures.

The grey junglefowl has a loud and unique call that can be heard in the early mornings as though it augurs the arriving of a new day, and for this reason, it is our Animal of the Week!

See this colourful bird on our Southern Splendour Wildlife Photography Tour.

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