The Red Jungle Fowl
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The red jungle fowl is said to be the original "chicken" from which all domestic chickens are descended based on comments and observations made by Darwin.

In Febuary 2001, I read an article on the
conservation and genetic integrity of the red jungle fowl by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr in Barry Koffler's
in which he expressed the fear that the pure red jungle fowl may be extinct in the wild.

In the article Dr. Brisbin described specimens descended from a flock captured by Dr. Bump in the late 1960s from North Central India which description was totally different from all other descriptions of the red jungle fowl including the photos in Barry's site and even those that are being sold as red jungle fowl in Malaysia. 

To my surprise I found the morphological description matches a pair of jungle fowl in my farm which I hatched from a clutch of 5 eggs found in the forest reserve adjacent to my farm.

Dr. Brisbin said in the article that the morphological characteristics of Dr. Bump's flock matches that of Delacour, J in his 1947 book, Birds of Malaysia (Macmillan).  Thus, we have descriptions from Delacour, the flock from Dr. Bump and now, my birds. In view of the geographical distances and time involved, it would appear therefore that there is a strong probability that the birds matching these descriptions must be the true red jungle fowl and that all other so-called red jungle fowl may in fact be birds that have cross-bred with domestic fowls or other similar fowl.

Well meaning conservationists may be contributing to the bird's genetic extinction by releasing into the jungles cross-bred birds.

The following are the characteristics that you can see from my photos which tie-in with Dr. Brisbin's description:

1. The tail is carried horizontally.
2. The female has no comb.

Dr. Brisbin adds that the male undergoes a eclipse molt, which I have yet to observe due to the age of my male.  I noted that in place of a comb, the female has a tiny pea-like protuberance and I further noted that the beak of both the male and female is proportionately longer than domestic chickens giving it a distinct "game-like" appearance.  Both the male and female lack wattles on the face.

Based on the fear expressed by Dr. Brisbin, and my own research, I am of the opinion that the true red jungle fowl as described above is endangered and may likely be extinct in many localities being replaced by genetically mixed jungle fowls. In fact some literature have stated that the pure red jungle fowl had been extinct in Malaysia since the early 1900s.

Based on this, I have decided to build a sanctuary at my farm for the flock that had produced the eggs from which I had hatched my pair.  I am planning to set aside two acres of land on a wooded hillock for this purpose.

My final objective must be to send genetically pure red jungle fowls to as many sanctuaries as possible world-wide to protect this very important bird to mankind from extinction.  

This will be a running diary of my efforts to build the sanctuary.

HS Wong
Feb. 22, 2001
Kuala Lumpur,
8 months old "pure" Male.  Note the steamlined pheasant-like body and the horizontal carriage of its tail. Hatched from eggs found near my farm.
8 months old "pure" female. Note the absence of  a comb.
Note the pheasant-like beak and face of the above female.
A pair of "normal" red jungle fowls with the typical brilliant coloration and "majestic" bearing. Hatched from eggs also collected near my farm. These may in fact be cross-bred fowl between the pure red jungle fowl and domestic chicken.
Proposed 2-acre site on a wooded hillock for the sanctuary.
Relevant Poultry Sites:
the RJF in human history
Archive of previous posts in GuestBook
barry koffler's feathersite
More pictures
protochicken (DNA tracing)
feeding habits
"Have you ever seen the most beautiful bird in the world?" (click to see)
Contact me:
HS Wong
"Tak Rugi Berbudi Kepada Bumi"