Ceylon junglefowl, Lafayette's junglefowl
The Sri Lankan junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii) is a member of the Galliformes bird order which is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is the national bird. It is closely related to the Red junglefowljunglefowl from which the chicken was domesticated.
The male Sri Lankan junglefowl is much larger than the female, with more vivid plumage and a highly exaggerated wattle and comb. The male has orange-red body plumage and dark purple to black wings and tail. The feathers of the mane descending from head to base of the spine are golden, and the face has bare red skin and wattles. The comb is red with a yellow center. The male does not possess an eclipse plumage. The female has dull brown plumage with white patterning on the lower belly and breast, ideal camouflage for a nesting bird.
These birds are native to Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia. They inhabit forests, mountainous areas, and scrub habitats, and are commonly spotted at sites such as Kitulgala, Yala, and Sinharaja. They also frequently visit cultivated areas.
Sri Lankan junglefowl are primarily terrestrial. They are typically active in the morning and in the evening and spend most of their time foraging for food. If disturbed Sri Lankan junglefowl take off to reach some cover for protection. They usually fly short distances but can fly longer distances in search of better food resources. At night these birds roost up in trees. They can roost singly, in pairs, or in small family groups. Sri Lankan junglefowl communicate with each other vocally. While foraging on the ground, the male utters some short calls ‘kreeu, kreeu, kreeuu’. It also utters high-pitched rooster-like crow ‘cor-cor-chow’ at dawn, often from a tree branch. The female gives some ‘kwikkuk, kwikkukkuk’. The male is more vocal during the breeding season with advertising calls and various sounds during displays, as well as the female with rivals and in territorial defense.
The mating system of this species is best described as facultative polyandry; a single female is typically linked with 2 or 3 males that form a pride of sorts. These males are likely to be siblings. The female pairs with the alpha male of the pride. The female lays 2-4 eggs in a nest, either on the forest floor in steep hill country or in the abandoned nests of other birds and squirrels. Her eggs are highly variable in color, but generally are cream with a yellow or pink tint. Purple or brownish spots are common. Occasionally, a female produces red eggs or blotched eggs. The female incubates her eggs, while the alpha male guards her nest from a nearby perch during the nesting season. The beta males remain in close proximity, and guard the nesting territory from intruders or potential predators. The incubation period may be as short as 20 days. The chicks are precocial and soon after hatching are able to follow their mother in search of food.
Sri Lankan junglefowl don’t face any major threats at present.
According to IUCN Red List, the Sri Lankan junglefowl is widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.