The Grey Junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii) is a wild species of domestic fowl endemic to the evergreen hill forest in southern and western India.
Grey Junglefowl are found mainly in peninsular India but extend into Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and south Rajasthan.
The Grey Junglefowls range overlaps with that of the Red Junglefowl who are found more along the foothills of the Himalayas. The Grey Junglefowl is also referred to as Sonnerat’s Junglefowl.
Use the information below to find out more about the Grey Junglefowl’s characteristics, habitat, diet, behaviour and reproduction.
Grey Junglefowl Characteristics
The male Grey Junglefowl has a black cape with golden/yellow colour 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 moult their colourful 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 Junglefowl Habitat
The Grey Junglefowl’s preferred habitats are thickets on the forest floors and open scrub.
Grey Junglefowl Diet
Grey Junglefowl forage in small mixed groups of both male and female. They feed up on bamboo seeds, grains, termites, insects and berries.
Grey Junglefowl Behaviour
Grey Junglefowl are vocal birds and produce calls which are loud and distinctive and sound like ‘Ku-kayak-kyuk-kyuk’. The call of the Grey Junglefowl can be heard early in the morning or at dusk.
Grey Junglefowl are mostly seen on the ground but they are able to fly into trees to escape predators or just to roost. These hardy birds are known for their foraging and defense behaviours being highly ritualized.
Grey Junglefowl Reproduction
Breeding season occurs from February to May. The female lays between 4 and 7 pale creamy eggs which are incubated for 21 days. Males will often make dutiful fathers, brooding chicks on or close to the ground on rainy nights. The female rears the chicks for around 9 weeks and then abandons them to the male while she incubates a new clutch of fertile eggs.
Grey Junglefowl Conservation Status
Grey Junglefowl 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 Junglefowl.
Did you know this about Grey Junglefowl?
Crosses between the Grey Junglefowl and the domestic chickens are known as Bengals.