The Adult Male
The background colour of a mature pure male jungle fowl is black with various shades of red and yellow on the neck, wings and back. The main tail feathers are laterally compressed and the lesser sickles are well arranged and obviously shorter than the greater sickles. The mean tail length of the main tail feathers measured from nine newly caught adult males was 17.7 cm and range from 14.3 cm to 19.9 cm. The total number of the main tail feathers in fully feathered male adults is 12, 6 feathers on each side. The number of lesser sickles was found to be 4 on each side. In the typical crossbreds the lesser sickles are longer and many curve downwards to mingle with the greater sickles. The lateral side of the lesser and greater sickles are metallic black with greenish sheen. The head of the jungle fowl is relatively small. The comb is single, well developed but is relatively small, thin and serrated. The comb mean length, from the anterior attachment of the comb to the base of the furthest end of the posterior part, was found to be 7.9 cm and range from 7 – 9.2 cm. The comb height from the highest point of the serration to the base of the attachment was found to have a mean height of 4.7 cm and with a range of 3.9 cm to 5.1 cm. The total mean number of serrations (including small buds) was 9.6 and range from 6 – 13. The lappets and the ear lobes are also well developed but usually smaller than the crossbreds and the face is pinkish red like the comb. The lappets when seen from the anterior views tend to be closer to each other as compared to those of the crossbreds which tend to open rather widely. The mean length of the ear lobe was 2.4 cm with a range of 1.5 cm – 3.5 cm and the mean breadth was 2.1 cm ranging from 1.7 cm – 3.4 cm. The lappets or wattles had a mean length of 3 cm and range from 3 cm – 3.4 cm and the breadth had a mean of 2.9 cm and a range from 2.6 cm – 3.7 cm.
The comb becomes bluish in newly caught birds kept in captivity. The ear lobes I found vary in colour and size. They can be the size of a 10 cents or 20 cents Malaysian coin, completely red, completely white or whitish with reddish tinge, the latter colour being the most common. The colour of the eyes surrounding the black retina in most birds has a reddish tinge unlike most crossbreds with whitish or yellowish colour.
The wings are well developed and longer than the whole length of the body including the tail. The total mean length of the wing spread fully stretched from the furthest tip of 1 wing to the furthest tip of the other wing was 72 cm and range from 63 – 76 cm. The breadth mean was 21.9 cm and range from 20 cm – 23.6 cm. The front shoulder plumage is greenish black, the wing bow is dark red, wing converts are black with slight reddish lines in some feathers, the secondary flight feathers are half black and half brownish yellow and primary flight feathers are black with short yellowish line in the center. The number of the first small feathers of the wing is three (3) on each side, the number of primary flight feathers range from 9 – 11 while the secondary flight feathers range from 12 -14 on each side.
The neck hackles tend to be reddish orange from the head and yellowish red downwards towards the back. The colour of the back is dark red.The body of the jungle fowl is relatively slim and boat shaped and the legs of the fowl are relatively slimmer with a smooth texture. The mean body length measured from the tip of the beak (fully stretched neck) to the tip of the oil gland was 36.4 cm and range from 35 cm – 38.1 cm. The mean length of the leg (shank) was 8.7 cm and range from 8.1 cm – 9.4 cm. The diameter of the center of the shank had a mean of 3.5 cm and range from 3.4 cm – 3.9 cm. We have never come across any adult bird weighing more than 11/2 kilogram and because of this plus its well developed flight feathers the jungle fowl is a strong flier as compared to the crossbreds. The mean weight of newly trapped adult male jungle fowl was 1023.8 grams and the range was 800.3grams - 1220grams. The colour of the shank is slaty blue whereas the crossbreds have either bluish black, greenish or yellowish colour. The spur is triangular in shape and tends to curve upwards in older birds. The mean length of the spur in the adult male was found to be 2.2 cm and range from 1.9 cm – 3.2 cm.
The crossbred males that are usually kept by villagers are either larger or smaller than the pure jungle fowls. The head is usually larger and the combs and lappets are usually bigger, rougher and thicker. The breast feathers may contain brownish or yellowish specks on the black background colour previously described. One important difference between a jungle fowl and the crossbreds is in the crow. The last note of the crossbred may be either too high pitch ending abruptly like the pure bird or it ends for a longer duration than the purebreds. The crow of the crossbreds is noticeably coarser than the pure jungle fowls. However, those crossbreds with a strong bantam origin have a finer sharp crow.
I have crossed pure male jungle fowls with crossbred females and the products of these crosses are difficult to distinguish from the pure birds. However, a few points may indicate that the bird is a cross. For example, the boat shape body is slightly off shape in the crosses and the slaty blue colour of the tarsus may be either darker or having a greenish tinge. Furthermore these crosses are relatively tame and can be set free and kept just like village birds.
Figure 1 Figure 2
Figure 1: A pure male red jungle fowl kept in captivity showing laterally compressed main tail feathers with two greater sickles and four lesser sickles.
Figure 2: Fully feathered pure male red jungle showing all the typical colors of the feathers.
Figure 3 Figure 4
Figure 3: This is a typical cross-bred male red jungle fowl kept by villagers. Note the tail feathers – there are numerous lesser sickles and tend to mix with the greater sickles. The colour of the feathers is almost identical to the pure red jungle fowl. The body is rather stout.
Figure 4: A closer look at the head of a typical crossbred red jungle fowl showing larger and thicker comb and lappets.
Figure 5 Figure 6
Figure 5 & 6: Another crossbred male red jungle fowl which at a glance may be mistaken from the wild red jungle fowl. Note the tail feathers, the lesser sickles are numerous and tend to mingle with the greater sickles
Figure 7 Figure 8
Figure 7 & 8: A closer look at the pattern of the tail feathers of the Figures 5 & 6 respectively. Note the lesser sickles are more numerous and tend to mingle with the greater sickles. Compare this to Figures 1 & 2.
Figure 9 Figure 10
Figure 9: A freshly caught red male jungle fowl with full feathers expressing all the typical colors. Note the intact lesser sickles and the slim boat-shaped body.
Figure 10: Another freshly caught red male jungle fowl. In this bird, the combs and wattles are larger than that shown in Figure 4.
Figure 11 Figure 12
Figure 11: A newly caught pure red male jungle fowl showing the typical color of the neck feathers. Some pure jungle fowl show yellowish orange color iris
Figure 12: Slaty blue colour of the shank and a very sharp spur of a pure red male jungle fowl (newly caught).
Figure 13 Figure 14
Figure 13: The spur of an older adult wild red jungle fowl is very sharp.
Figure 14: A newly caught red male jungle fowl showing yellowish iris and tick infestation at the base of the comb (arrow).
Figure 15 Figure 16
Figure 15: A pure red male jungle fowl showing reddish ear lobe. Jungle fowls caught from the wild on many occasions possess red ear lobes. This male shows reddish iris which is most commonly encountered colour.
Figure 16: Note the reddish iris of this wild male red jungle fowl and the almost pure white ear lobe.
Figure 17 Figure 18
Figure 17 & 18: A newly caught red jungle fowl showing pure white ear lobe. Note the reddish iris and compare it with Figure 11.
Figure 19 Figure 20
Figure 19 & 20: Some newly caught adult male red jungle fowls show are extremely nervous and fallen comb and loss of bright red colour of the comb, face and wattles due to shock. Note the ear lobe in this case is not pure white.
Figure 21 Figure 22
Figure 21: The typical colour of a pure red jungle fowl shank is slaty blue and this is a consistent observation from my experiences.
Figure 22: Note the color of the shank of a crossbred male red jungle fowl. There seem to be brownish yellow coloration of most scales.
Figure 23 Figure 24
Figure 23: An adult pure male red jungle fowl showing moulted neck feathers (arrow). The female is a crossbred.
Figure 24: A pure male red jungle fowl kept in captivity for the last 1 year by a villager. Note that this bird has molted. (No neck hackles)
Figure 25 Figure 26
Figure 25 & 26: This pure male jungle fowl when caught had only a few neck hackles indicating moulting.
Figure 27 Figure 28
Figure 27: A pure red jungle fowl showing a slim boat-shaped body and relatively smaller comb and lappets.
Figure 28: A closer look at the head region of a pure red jungle fowl showing smaller comb and lappets.
Figure 29 Figure 30
Figure 29: This is the abnormal colored male red jungle fowl with whitish neck hackles caught from the wild. This type of jungle fowl must be a progeny of crosses between the pure jungle fowl and village chickens.
Figure 30: This is the golden type red jungle fowl occasionally caught not far from villagers. Note the golden flight feathers are more in numbers as compared to the typical pure jungle fowl. This type must have descended from a cross between the male jungle fowl and village chicken.
Figure 31 Figure 32
Figure 31: This is another golden color red jungle fowl caught in Kajang, in the state of Selangor in 1974. The habitat of this bird is a secondary forest surrounded by a village. This must be a descendent of a cross between pure red jungle fowl and a village chicken.
Figure 32: This is a bantam crossbred often used as a decoy to trap wild jungle fowl. Note the different color, small and stout body and yellowish shanks.
Figure 33: Typical crossbred jungle fowls kept by the author.