It is said that the Red Junglefowl happens to be the original “chicken” from which all domestic chickens are descended. This assertion is based on comments and observations made by Charles Darwin. The Red Junglefowl is scientifically called Gallus gallus, and it happens to be a tropical member of the Pheasant family. These birds are thought to be ancestors of the domestic chicken, with some hybridization with the Grey Junglefowl. Records indicate that the Red Junglefowl was first raised in captivity at least several thousand years ago in Asia. All around the world, the domesticated form has been used as a very productive food source for both meat and eggs. There are some breeds that have been specifically developed to produce these.
The species has a range stretching from northeast India, eastwards across southern China and down into Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia. The birds are established on several of the Hawaiian Islands, but these happen to be feral descendents of domestic chickens. Furthermore, they can also be found on Christmas Island and the Marianas.
It’s been realised that both male and female Red Junglefowls exhibit very strong sexual dimorphism. The males happen to be much larger with large red fleshy wattles and comb on the head. They also possess long, bright gold and bronze feathers forming a “shawl” or “cape” over the back of the bird. Specifically, this feature occurs from the neck to the lower back. Furthermore, the tail of the male is composed of long, arching feathers that initially look black but shimmer with blue, purple and green in good light. On the other hand, the female possesses plumage which is very typical of this family of birds. The plumage has evolved for camouflage as she alone takes care of the eggs and chicks. Furthermore, the female has no fleshy wattles or comb on the head.