Friday 17 May
Sri Lanka junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii)
Sri Lanka junglefowl fact file
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Sri Lanka junglefowl description
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.
- Male length: 66 – 72 cm (2)
- Female length: c. 35 cm (2)
- Male weight: 790 – 1140 g (2)
- Female weight: 510 – 625 g (2)
- 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.
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society:
- BirdLife International:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- 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.
IUCN Red List (May, 2006)
- 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.
IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office (August, 2006)
Oiseaux.net (August, 2006)
- Delacour, J. (1951) The Pheasants of the World. Country Life Ltd., London.
CentralPets.com (August, 2006)
gbwf.org: Dedicated to the Aviculture and Conservation of the World’s Galliformes (August, 2006)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
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).Top
Sri Lanka junglefowl range
Native to Sri Lanka (7).Top
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).Top
Sri Lanka junglefowl status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).Top
Sri Lanka junglefowl threats
The Sri Lanka junglefowl is not currently threatened, and appears to tolerate human disturbance and habitat degradation well (2).Top
Sri Lanka junglefowl conservation
There are currently no conservation measures targeting this species.Top
Find out more
For more information on the Sri Lanka junglefowl. see:
For more information on conservation in Sri Lanka, see:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
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