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- ► Chicken breeds (6 C, 167 P)
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1. Chicken – The chicken is a type of domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red junglefowl. It is one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs. From India, the chicken was imported to Lydia in western Asia Minor. In the UK and Ireland adult male chickens over the age of one year are known as cocks, whereas in America, Australia. Males less than a year old are cockerels, females over a year old are known as hens and younger females as pullets although in the egg-laying industry, a pullet becomes a hen when she begins to lay eggs at 16 to 20 weeks of age. In Australia and New Zealand, there is a generic term chook /ˈtʃʊk/ to describe all ages, the young are called chicks and the meat is called chicken. Chicken originally referred to domestic fowl. The species as a whole was then called domestic fowl, or just fowl. This use of chicken survives in the phrase Hen and Chickens, sometimes used as a British public house or theatre name, the word chicken is sometimes erroneously construed to mean females exclusively, despite the term hen for females being in wide circulation. In the Deep South of the United States chickens are also referred to by the slang term yardbird, in the wild, they often scratch at the soil to search for seeds, insects and even animals as large as lizards, small snakes or young mice. Chickens may live for five to ten years, depending on the breed, the worlds oldest chicken was a hen which died of heart failure at the age of 16 according to Guinness World Records. However, in some breeds, such as the Sebright chicken, the rooster has only slightly pointed neck feathers, the identification can be made by looking at the comb, or eventually from the development of spurs on the males legs. Adult chickens have a fleshy crest on their heads called a comb, or cockscomb, collectively, these and other fleshy protuberances on the head and throat are called caruncles. Both the adult male and female have wattles and combs, a muff or beard is a mutation found in several chicken breeds which causes extra feathering under the chickens face, giving the appearance of a beard. Domestic chickens are not capable of long distance flight, although birds are generally capable of flying for short distances. Chickens may occasionally fly briefly to explore their surroundings, but generally do so only to flee perceived danger, Chickens are gregarious birds and live together in flocks. They have an approach to the incubation of eggs and raising of young. Individual chickens in a flock will dominate others, establishing an order, with dominant individuals having priority for food access
2. Grey junglefowl – The grey junglefowl, also known as Sonnerats junglefowl, is one of the wild ancestors of domestic fowl together with the red junglefowl and other junglefowls. The grey junglefowl is responsible for the pigment in the legs. This species is endemic to India, and even today it is mainly in peninsular India. It will sometimes hybridize in the wild with the red junglefowl and it also hybridizes readily in captivity and sometimes with free-range domestic fowl kept in habitations close to forests. The species epithet commemorates the French explorer Pierre Sonnerat, the male has a black cape with ochre spots and the body plumage on a grey ground colour is finely patterned. The elongated neck feathers are dark and end in a small, hard, yellowish plate, the male has red wattles and combs but not as strongly developed as in the red junglefowl. Legs of males are red and have spurs while the legs of females usually lack spurs. The central tail feathers are long and sickle shaped, males have an eclipse plumage in which they moult their colourful neck feathers in summer during or after the breeding season. The female is duller and has black and white streaking on the underparts and they are found in thickets, on the forest floor and open scrub. Their loud calls of Ku-kayak-kyuk-kyuk are loud and distinctive, and can be heard in the early mornings, unlike the red junglefowl, the male does not flap its wing before uttering the call. They forage in mixed or single sex groups. They breed from February to May and they lay 4 to 7 eggs which are pale creamy in a scrape. Eggs hatch in about 21 days, although mostly seen on the ground, grey junglefowl fly into trees to escape predators and to roost. They feed on grains including bamboo seeds, berries, insects and termites, the species is mainly in the Indian Peninsula but extends into Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and south Rajasthan. This species and the red junglefowl overlap slightly along the boundary of the distribution although the ranges are largely non-overlapping. Grey junglefowl have been bred domestically in England since 1862 and their feathers have been supplied from domestic UK stocks for fly tying since 1978. The grey junglefowl is found mostly in Peninsular India, while the red junglefowl is found more along the foothills of the Himalayas, a region of overlap occurs in the Aravalli range. The species has been isolated by a variety of mechanisms including behavioural differences and genic incompatibility, a study in southern India found a density of 19.8 groups per square kilometer with an average group size of 1.3
3. Red junglefowl – The red junglefowl is a tropical member of the family Phasianidae. It is the progenitor of the domestic chicken. The red junglefowl was first domesticated at least five years ago in Asia. Since then it has spread around the world, and the form is kept globally as a very productive food source of both meat and eggs. The range of the wild form stretches from Tamil Nadu, India, eastwards across Indochina and southern China and into Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, junglefowl are established on several of the Hawaiian Islands, including Kauai, but these are feral descendants of domestic chickens. They can also be found on Christmas Island, Vanuatu, the females plumage is typical of this family of birds in being cryptic and adapted for camouflage. She alone looks after the eggs and chicks and she also has no fleshy wattles, and a very small comb on the head. During their mating season, the male birds announce their presence with the well known cock-a-doodle-doo call or crowing, male red junglefowl have a shorter crowing sound than domestic roosters, the call cuts off abruptly at the end. This serves both to potential mates and to make other male birds in the area aware of the risk of fighting a breeding competitor. A spur on the leg just behind and above the foot serves in such fighting. Their call structure is complex and they have distinctive alarm calls for aerial, males make a food-related display called tidbitting, performed upon finding food in the presence of a female. The display is composed of coaxing, cluck-like calls and eye-catching bobbing and twitching motions of the head, during the performance, the male repeatedly picks up and drops the food item with his beak. The display usually ends when the hen takes the food item either from the ground or directly from the male’s beak, males that produce anti-predator alarm calls appear to be preferred by females. They are omnivorous and feed on insects, seeds and fruits including those that are cultivated such as those of the oil palm, red junglefowl regularly bathe in dust to keep just the right balance in their plumage. The dust absorbs extra oil and subsequently falls off. P. the study showed that chickens were most likely domesticated from wild red junglefowl, though some have suggested possible genetic contributions from other junglefowl species. Domestication occurred at least 7,400 years ago from a common ancestor flock in the natural range. The paper also states that the earliest undisputed domestic chicken remains are associated with a date of approximately 5,400 BC from the Chishan site. In the Ganges region of India, red junglefowl were being used by humans as early as 7,000 years ago
4. Sri Lankan junglefowl – The Sri Lankan junglefowl, also known as the Ceylon junglefowl, 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 junglefowl, the wild junglefowl from which the chicken was domesticated, the specific name of the Sri Lankan junglefowl commemorates the French aristocrat Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette. In Sinhala it is known as වළි කුකුළා and in Tamil it is known as இலங்கைக் காட்டுக்கோழி. As with other junglefowl, the Sri Lankan junglefowl is sexually dimorphic, the male is much larger than the female, with more vivid plumage. The male Sri Lankan junglefowl ranges from 66–72 cm in length and 790–1,140 g in weight, essentially resembling a large, 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 spine are golden, the comb is red with a yellow centre. As with the green junglefowl, the cock does not possess an eclipse plumage. The female is smaller, at only 35 cm in length and 510–645 g in weight, with dull brown plumage with white patterning on the lower belly and breast. This is one of four species of birds in the genus Gallus, the other three members of the genus are red junglefowl, grey junglefowl, and green junglefowl. The Sri Lankan junglefowl is most closely related to the grey junglefowl, female Sri Lanka junglefowl are very similar to those of the grey junglefowl. Like the green junglefowl, Sri Lankan junglefowl are island species that have evolved side by side with their similarly stranded island predators and competitors, uniquely complex anti-predator behaviors and foraging strategies are integral components in the long evolutionary story of the Sri Lankan junglefowl. As with other junglefowl, Sri Lanka junglefowl are primarily terrestrial and it spends most of its time foraging for food by scratching the ground for various seeds, fallen fruit and insects. It lays 2-4 eggs in a nest either on the forest floor in steep hill country or in the nests of other birds. Like the Grey and green junglefowl, male Sri Lankan junglefowl play an role in nest protection. The reproductive strategy of this species is best described as facultative polyandry and these males are likely to be siblings. The female pairs with the male of the pride and nests high off the ground. Her eggs are variable in colour but generally are cream with a yellow or pink tint. Purple or brownish spots are common, occasionally a female will produce red eggs or blotched eggs
5. Bekisar – The Bekisar, or Ayam Bekisar, is the first generation hybrid offspring of the green junglefowl and domesticated red junglefowl from Java. The roosters have a blackish green plumage and are highly prized for their loud clear calls and striking colouration, while the hens are usually dull. Bekisars were traditionally used by the inhabitants of the Sunda Islands as symbolic or spiritual mascots on outrigger canoes. The original hybrids are fertile, but backcrosses with domestic chicken are sometimes achieved. While the hybrid is only of historical interest in most regions, on Java it is still being produced as a more stereotyped breed with local varieties. The wild green junglefowl is a mangrove forest adapted species, unlike the red junglefowl, the ancestor of most domestic chickens, it is adapted for life with little fresh water. During the dry season, and also on arid volcanic islands and it also feeds on aquatic animals washed up on the shores and littoral pools, which red junglefowl are unable to do. At low tide, green junglefowl forage for starfish, small crabs, copepods, at high tide they fly to mangrove islets to roost. The far-carrying cries of the green junglefowl can be heard over the breakers. The practice of hybridisation is so ancient that it is not known precisely where it began, modern Sundanese and Javanese people claim that it first occurred in the Kangean Islands in the Java Sea. The native peoples of the Sunda Archipelago learned that they could persuade young, the progeny were used for communication between canoes. Each rooster has a voice, due to its hybrid ancestry. A rooster would be selected for its voice, and hoisted up the mast of the canoe in a special bamboo basket. From their elevated baskets the roosters crowed incessantly in prolonged shrieking matches, the calls combine the prolonged notes of the green junglefowl with the added volume of domestic fowl, whose wild ancestors voices had to be heard through dense vegetation. The Bekisars voice can often be heard for two miles over the sea, the seafaring cultures took to keeping these male Bekisars on their canoes at all times. When the native peoples of Java and the Sunda Islands migrated to Oceania and beyond, they brought with them dogs, pigs, yams, coconuts, each migration brought a few dozen semi-domestic game fowl, not unlike those seen today running feral in tropical Asian villages. Anthropologists have provided evidence that only a few boats in any flotilla carried domestic animals. Each seafaring vessel would, however, have carried at least two or three cages with Bekisars aboard, the chieftain and warriors may have carried even more Bekisars on each of their vessels
6. Green junglefowl – The green junglefowl, also known as Javan junglefowl, forktail or green Javanese junglefowl, is a medium-sized bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The colouration of the green junglefowl is sexually dimorphic, the males plumage is dark and blackish at a distance. A closer view will reveal an iridescent mantle of gleaming scales reminiscent in colour and pattern to those seen in the ocellated turkey, each scale is vivid blue at its base and moves through various shades of gold and bronzed green. Specialized plumes framing the throat of the green junglefowl are highly light reflective and appear violet at the proximal. The lesser coverts of the wing are a striking burned orange with bronzed black centers, the distal edges of the greater secondary coverts are vivid ocher. Like its cousin the red junglefowl, the breast and ventral regions are a light absorbing black. Like its closer relative the Sri Lankan junglefowl, the green junglefowl exhibits vivid windows of bare facial skin that contrast against the dark scarlet red of the face. The green junglefowl exhibits an ice center in its comb. A region of electric yellow facial skin extends below each ear and its head is topped by a light blue comb, which turns purple or red towards the top. Its wattle is also of the same colour but is bordered with blue on the edges, the female is mostly brown with occasional green feathers and has no comb. The green junglefowl is endemic to Java, Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Flores, Rinca and small islands linking Java with Flores and it has been introduced to the Cocos Islands where there is a small wild population. It is found from an altitude of 0 –2000 m in subtropical/tropical lowland moist forest, shrubland. The green junglefowl usually lives in groups of two to five in the led by a dominant male, who takes the flock to feed and drink. In the night the flock roosts in bamboo stands at 15–20 feet above the forest floor, in the breeding season the dominant males in each flock are challenged by other males without flocks. The two males clap their wings and crow loudly while fighting each other with their spurs, the green junglefowl is being maintained and increasingly bred in captivity as its genetic diversity is disappearing. This is because birds are bred with domestic chickens by many people. The bekisar has become popular in the East Java province and has become the mascot-bird of the area. Therefore, the green junglefowl requires more protected conditions than chickens and this bird has also been known for a long time as a pet animal because of its beauty and unique call
7. Junglefowl – Junglefowl are the four living species of bird from the genus Gallus in the Gallinaceous bird order, which occur in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. These are large birds, with colourful male plumage, but are difficult to see in the dense vegetation they inhabit. As with many birds in the pheasant family, the male takes no part in the incubation of the egg or rearing of the precocial young and these duties are performed by the drab and well-camouflaged female. The junglefowl are seed-eaters, but insects are taken, particularly by the young birds. The Sri Lankan junglefowl is the bird of Sri Lanka. Gallus imereticus Gallus meschtscheriensis Gallus georgicus Gallus sp, steve Madge, Philip J. K. McGowan, Guy M. Kirwan. Pheasants, Partidges and Grouse, A Guide to the Pheasants, Partridges, Quails, Grouse, Guineafowl, Buttonquails and Sandgrouse of the World