Sri Lanka junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii)

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Male Sri Lanka junglefowl
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Sri Lanka junglefowl fact file

Sri Lanka junglefowl description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderGalliformes
FamilyPhasianidae
GenusGallus (1)

The handsome cocks of this endemic species, the national bird of Sri Lanka (3), are remarkably similar to those of domestic chickens (4). The longish plumage on the breast and upperparts is mainly a rich, fiery yellow to coppery orange with golden streaks, while the abdomen, flanks and bushy tail are a dark metallic purplish-black (2) (4) (5). The bare facial skin and two lappets hanging from the throat are red, and a fleshy red crest (comb) with central yellow patch adorns the crown (4) (5). In summer, after the main breeding season, males slowly moult and their comb shrinks in size (5). The female is much smaller than the male and has no lappets and only a tiny comb, a small purplish-black lump behind the beak (6). The hen is mostly brown with a darker tail and bold brown and buff barring on the wings (2) (5).

Also known as
Ceylon junglefowl.
Size
Male length: 66 – 72 cm (2)
Female length: c. 35 cm (2)
Male weight: 790 – 1140 g (2)
Female weight: 510 – 625 g (2)
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Sri Lanka junglefowl biology

Sri Lanka junglefowl roost in trees, usually singly but sometimes in pairs or family parties, and spend much of the day on the ground (3), foraging in the morning and evening along open tracks in the forest. This bird feeds on grain, weed seeds, berries, flowers, various succulent leaves and buds, and a large proportion of small animals, such as termites, beetles, woodlice, crickets and centipedes (2) (3). Animal matter forms the bulk of the diet for chicks (3).

While the main breeding season is from February to May, a second clutch is often laid in August to September, and breeding appears to go on throughout the year (2) (3). Nests are constructed in a variety of locations, but typically occur on the ground amongst bushes or under logs, although use of a deserted squirrel and crows nest have been recorded, several metres above the ground. Clutches normally consist of two to four eggs, incubated for 20 to 21 days (in captivity) (2). The chicks are well developed and learn to scratch for food as soon as they leave the nest, although they will instantly scatter and hide at their mother’s alarm call (3).

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Sri Lanka junglefowl habitat

Found in a variety of habitats from coastal scrub to mountain forest, anywhere between sea level and 2,000 m (2). Although wary of man and normally not venturing far from cover, this bird will visit cultivated areas and plantations in search of food (7), and likes to frequent open places in wet weather, such as roadsides or glades, in order to feed free from drippings trees (3).

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Sri Lanka junglefowl status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Sri Lanka junglefowl threats

The Sri Lanka junglefowl is not currently threatened, and appears to tolerate human disturbance and habitat degradation well (2).

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Sri Lanka junglefowl conservation

There are currently no conservation measures targeting this species.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the Sri Lanka junglefowl. see:

  • del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World - New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

For more information on conservation in Sri Lanka, see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Lappet
Wattle: a fleshy wrinkled and often brightly coloured fold of skin hanging from the neck or throat of certain birds (chickens and turkeys) or lizards.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2006)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World - New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office (August, 2006)
    http://www.iucn.org/places/srilanka/iucnnew/soptlight29.htm
  4. Oiseaux.net (August, 2006)
    http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/galliformes/coq.de.lafayette.html
  5. Delacour, J. (1951) The Pheasants of the World. Country Life Ltd., London.
  6. CentralPets.com (August, 2006)
    http://www.centralpets.com/animals/birds/wild_birds/wbd4319.html
  7. gbwf.org: Dedicated to the Aviculture and Conservation of the World’s Galliformes (August, 2006)
    http://www.gbwf.org/pheasants/junglefowl_ceylon.html
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Image credit

Male Sri Lanka junglefowl  
Male Sri Lanka junglefowl

© Tim Loseby

Tim Loseby
timloseby@btinternet.com

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