Bird Families

Little known facts about domestic chickens

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Genetics and hybridization

This species easily interbreeds with domestic chickens producing fertile offspring called Bekisar.

Appearance

The rooster has predominantly emerald green plumage and a colorful comb. The female is grayish brown.

Population

This is a very rare species, it is increasingly being bred in captivity to preserve the species, but because of this, the genetic diversity of the species suffers.

Interesting Facts

They belong to the few of their kind (Gallus), capable of a long flight.

First described Shaw, 1798

View ID by ITIS.gov 176089

ZoodbID 2455

Boehme R.L., Flint V.E. A five-language dictionary of animal names. Birds. Latin, Russian, English, German, French. / under the general editorship of Acad. V.E.Sokolova. - M .: Rus. lang., "RUSSO", 1994. - P. 468. - 2030 copies. - ISBN 5-200-00643-0

Blackwood K. Green Junglefowl

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  • Sphaerodactylus elegantulus - Elegant round-fingered gecko
  • Dendroaspis viridis - Green mamba
  • Dendroaspis angusticeps - Narrow-headed mamba
  • Calumma gallus
  • Leopardus guigna - Chilean cat
  • Cinnyris notatus - Dark green nectar
  • Gallus lafayetii - Ceylon Jungle Chicken
  • Gallus sonneratii - Jungle gray hen
  • Gallus gallus - Jungle Banking Chicken
  • Megapodius freycinet

In the comments, you can add information about this type of animal or ask a question or clarification that interests you.
We are always glad to interested project participants and are happy to discuss certain data with you.

Systematic position and area

Jungle chickens are a genus of birds that belongs to the pheasant family and the order of chickens or chickens. This genus includes four types:

  • banking,
  • Ceylon,
  • gray,
  • green.

Chicken birds are common on almost all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. These include five families:

  • pheasant,
  • big legs,
  • guinea fowl,
  • cracks,
  • toothed partridges.

The relationship with pheasants is confirmed by the ability of both wild and domestic chickens to mate with pheasants. This indicates that pheasant birds have external signs and elements of behavior that allow individuals of different species to recognize each other as representatives of their own species. Only in this case mating is possible.

If we compare the representatives of the pheasant family, we can distinguish the signs by which pheasants and chickens “see” each other as “their own”. It:

  • bright and colorful plumage of roosters,
  • similar sex differentiation,
  • the same sexual behavior,
  • the similarity of individual sounds made by roosters or hens.

A similar situation develops in many closely related species, which leads to the appearance of hybrids. However, these hybrids are usually incapable of reproduction. The reason is the difference in the genome, which contributes to the preservation of the species as a permanent biological phenomenon.

Wild chickens live in the forested area of ​​South Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Jungle Chicken is named for its affection for the tropical forested area.

But the biotope of these representatives of the pheasant family can be called a marginal. Wild birds prefer to live not in the thick of the forest, where it is difficult to get food for themselves, but on its border - in shrubs, woodlands, grassy thickets of glades.

Most representatives of the order of chickens lead just such a lifestyle. But there are exceptions: they spread mainly to the taiga zone, where wood grouses, black grouses, partridges have adapted to feed on needles and seeds of plants in this zone.

Wild ancestors of domestic chickens

Banking jungle chickens are believed to be the wild ancestor of domesticated individuals. This claim was originally based on phenotypic and behavioral similarities, as well as the ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This is usually enough to prove the origin. But all other species of jungle chickens could claim to be the ancestor of popular poultry.

And also the similarity of the representatives of the genus gave rise to the assertion that domestication took place on the basis of several species. All scientists, including Darwin, identified South Asia as the center of origin of domesticated chicken, but the name of the wild bird, which was the ancestor of domesticated, has always been in doubt.

Studies have shown that the domestication of feathered savages took place 8,000 years ago. These birds very quickly became common inhabitants of chicken coops in Asia, Africa and Europe. In America and Australia, they appeared only after the resettlement of Europeans there.

Despite the fact that domestic chickens are able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring, DNA analysis revealed some differences in the genome of chickens from different regions. Differences are observed in domestic chickens of the Pacific and South Asian populations. They differ not only from each other, but also from chickens from other regions.

This fact indicates the origin from various wild species. This version is reflected in the LiveJournal "Wild Zoologist", where the gray jungle bird is mentioned as the second species that gave rise to domestic chickens.

There is another explanation for the phenomenon of some difference in the genome - the accumulation of mutations in isolated bird populations. The latter statement is considered more correct, since all chickens successfully interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

If different populations of domestic chickens came from different ancestors, then their genomes would have more differences, and crossing between European and Chinese chickens led to the appearance of infertile offspring.

Doubts about the origin of domesticated chickens have been dispelled through genetic and molecular analysis. For this bird, for the first time in the world, a genetic map was made. So domestic chickens became not only a source of meat, eggs and feathers, but also scientific information.

The genetic code of the domestic chicken dispelled all doubts - its ancestor is a bank jungle chicken.

When did chickens become domesticated?

According to Darwin, the first chickens appeared in India around the 2nd century BC. However, modern archaeological finds and genetic studies indicate an earlier date for the appearance of domestic chicken - namely, almost the 7th-8th century BC, and not in India, but in Southeast Asia and China.

Known images of chickens in the tomb of the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt Tutankhamun, and this is about 1350 BC. There were chickens in Ancient Greece as well. In Judea in evangelical times, it was considered a common poultry.

How exactly the chicken was domesticated is also not entirely clear. Probably, the bank chicken appeared in the household at about the same time, but in different countries. This option seems to the researchers the most likely. However, the oldest fossil remains of this poultry are more than 8 thousand years old, and they were found in China.

Where did chicken come from in Russia? We have bred chickens for a long time. They came to us, most likely, from foreign merchants and came to the court mainly because of the low demands on the conditions of detention. They were prized for their eggs. They were considered good food in the winter and were not cheap. But meat began to be appreciated and acquired economic importance only by the beginning of the 20th century.

Wild Banking Chickens

Banking birds have a strong constitution that allows them to run fast. Wild birds fly badly. But their endurance allows them to compensate for the disadvantages of a terrestrial lifestyle.

Bankers weigh less than domestic chickens. A wild male of the breed weighs no more than 1.2 kg, and chickens gain no more than 700 g. Such a difference with domestic relatives is associated with the costs of a wild lifestyle. In chicken coops, there is no need to run away from predators and constantly look for food. And also breeders and geneticists have formed breeds with a special physiology that allows you to gain a lot of weight in a short time.

Bankers eat everything that they can get in the jungle. Their diet includes:

  • seeds,
  • arthropods, worms, molluscs,
  • parts of plants,
  • fallen fruits.

They make nests on the ground. Most of the species of the order of chickens do this. The condition for the survival of the quail and chicks is not only the ability to hide and run quickly. The gregarious lifestyle, the participation of the rooster in the protection of chicks and chicks, and a sophisticated signaling system help wild chickens to know about the danger in advance.

Banking rooster is a beautiful and bright bird. Despite the poor flight, his pectoral muscles are well developed. The whole body is adapted for fast running, sudden flight, as well as for fights with other roosters and predators. It has a small head, a large crest, and a long neck. Legs, in comparison with a domestic cock, are long.

The bright color of the rooster impressed the British so much that they called this bird a red rooster, although it would be more accurate to give the name "fiery bird". Indeed, the rooster of this species has a fiery red crest, bright red feathers on the neck, back and ends of the wings. This fiery coloration is especially noticeable against the background of the dark green feathers of the rest of the body.

It would seem that this color makes the rooster very noticeable against the background of the green jungle. However, only chickens have a camouflage color, since they sit on the nest and take care of the chicks. A wild rooster, on the contrary, attracts the attention of harem chickens, flock rivals and predators.

Fighting Roosters

Breed overview and growing of colored broilers

Types of wild chickens

At the moment, there are only four types of wild chickens in the natural environment:

  • banking jungle - Gallus gallus
    (from lat.), Red Junglefowl (from English),
  • gray jungle - Gallus sonneratii
    (from lat.), Gray Junglefowl (from English),
  • ceylon jungle - Gallus lafayettei
    (from lat.), Ceylon Junglefowl (from English),
  • green jungle or shrub - Gallus varius
    (from Lat.), Green Junglefowl (from English).

The most famous and widespread species are the bank comb chickens. Domesticated crested birds live on all continents and are of great economic importance for humans, however, their domestication requires a lot of effort.

All 4 species of these birds have a lot in common. In the daytime they are on the ground in search of food, and at night they climb up the trees to rest. They have well-developed wings and legs, they fly and run perfectly.

In case of danger, the bird can run away and hide in the bushes or take off and hide in the crown of a tree. Based on all this, chickens prefer to live in forest or shrub areas, bamboo thickets and rarely settle on the plains.

The voice of wild birds is the same as that of domestic birds, only louder. They are afraid of predatory animals and birds. Life expectancy can reach 3-5 years.

Banking

The most popular variety, because it is the ancestor of most domesticated chicken species. Banking chickens are also called red jungle chickens, due to the peculiarities of their appearance. The male has reddish-golden plumage on the back and black-brown on the belly.

The hens have a short tail, its color is predominantly brown, the feathers on the neck are black with yellow edges. Birds are small in size: males reach a maximum of 1200 g, and chickens - only 600-700 g.

They have well-developed muscles, and their physique can even be called "athletic". Bankers are very hardy and can fly well. Red jungle animals feed on what they find in their natural habitat: seeds, fruits, grains, invertebrates and even certain types of vertebrates.

Ceylon

This species of wild chickens is found on about. Sri Lanka, where he became a national symbol. In this region, the population of this chicken species is monitored at the state level and efforts are being made to preserve it. Ceylon roosters are no more than 73 cm tall, on average 68 cm, and hens are only 35 cm tall.

Birds live on the ground and eat fallen fruits, grains, and plant seeds. They can also eat various insects. Wild Ceylon chickens, sensing danger, begin to make unusual sounds, warning their relatives about the danger, and run away to a safer place.

Gray

Gray wild chickens can be found in Indonesia. Their plumage is colored gray, which is why they got their name. Each chicken feather has a beautiful pattern. Roosters of this species are gray-gold in color.

Chickens live in few families, they prefer to organize nests at the edge of mixed forests, in thickets of bushes, on the outskirts of plantations.

Green

Representatives of this species of chickens are very similar to pheasants, with which, according to scientists, they have similar genes. Birds live on about. Java and the Sunda Islands. You can often find the name of this breed as a green jungle rooster, not a chicken.

The main part of the bird's body is dark in color with a greenish tint; red feathers cover the outer part of the wing. The bird's earrings have a bright tricolor color. The comb of the rooster is purple.

Green jungle can fly well. Their flight can take quite a long time. The average size of a bird is 75 cm, the weight of individuals, on average, is 800-1000 g.

Wild chickens live in real natural conditions, and, therefore, are very dependent on climate change and the state of the environment. In recent years, the population of wild birds has declined significantly, however, the ancestors of domestic chickens still continue to freely live in their natural habitat.

Wild chickens are the direct ancestors of domesticated chickens of various breeds. The fact that they are still part of natural ecosystems pleases not only ecologists. The presence and availability of wild ancestors allows geneticists and breeders to use the original genotype to improve the health of domesticated breeds.

Other members of the genus

Other wild birds of southern Asia and the surrounding islands have some differences in phenotype, but their behavior and lifestyle are very similar. This is evidenced by a comparative description of the three types of "savages".

Gray jungle chicken

Lives in the southwestern part of Asia. The rooster and hen have modest plumage, which disguises them well in thickets of grass and bushes.

  • If it were not for the classic rooster's tail, which is nevertheless significantly inferior to bankers in beauty and splendor, then these chickens could be compared with guinea fowls.
  • The predominance of black and white variants in the color of feathers gave the name to this species.
  • The sizes of individuals of gray chickens are also modest. The average body length fits in the range from 70 to 85 cm.The average gray chicken weighs about 700 g.

Green jungle chicken

This species has an insular range. The green chicken can only be found on the Sunda Islands and on the island of Java.

Since individuals of this species fly better than other representatives of the genus of jungle chickens, the color of the female allows her to disguise herself against the background of tree trunks and soil. Its feathers are colored uniformly brown.

The rooster possesses special distinguishing features.

  • Its comb and goatee are colored bright red. But at the base of the ridge there is a clearly visible green stripe. On the beard, such a strip is located at the very tip.
  • The plumage on the body is predominantly dark green with an emerald tint.
  • And only decorative feathers hanging in cords have a muted red color.

Ceylon Jungle Chicken

A rooster of this type also has reason to be called a fiery one.

  • His entire head, including the large comb and beard, is red.
  • There is a wide yellow stripe in the middle of the ridge.
  • The decorative cord-like feathers on the neck, chest and back have a bright red color.
  • The rest of the body is painted in masking black shades with a metallic sheen.

The chicken has feathers only of brown and gray shades.

Ceylon chickens are small - the cock in length fits in the range from 60 to 70 cm, the hen - from 35 to 45 cm.

The name of this species speaks for itself - it is immediately clear that these chickens live in Ceylon, being the symbol of Sri Lanka.

  • All jungle chickens have pronounced sexual dimorphism, which indicates a significant difference in the behavior of males and females.
  • The rooster does not incubate eggs and does not care for chicks.
  • Maintains order in the harem, fights for females with other roosters, and also protects his chickens from all sorts of troubles.

Roosters stand out against the general background with their behavior and appearance. This allows them to keep the chickens near them, control them with the help of voice commands, and distract predators. It is not surprising that these guardians of the chicken community die much more often than the chickens they protect.

Varieties of wild chickens in nature

Wild chickens are of different types, among which science identifies four that have survived to our times. Let's take a look at them.

Green wild chickens

The green jungle chicken is most similar in appearance to pheasants, which some scientists consider to be the ancestors of chickens. Whether this information is reliable or not, science cannot say for sure, but the theory has a right to exist, since geneticists have discovered similar genes in birds of these two species.

It is noteworthy that males and females of this species have cardinal external differences. The plumage color is green-black. The average weight of these coughs is about 800-1000 grams.

Green jungle chickens break all stereotypes regarding their flying abilities. This is one of the rare hens that is capable of long flights. A green laying hen can easily flit from tree to tree, making it almost invulnerable.

Every year there are fewer wild chickens on our planet. Of course, until scientists sound the alarm and there is no talk about the extinction of the species. But, due to the deteriorating climatic conditions and the ecological state of the planet, the number of these birds has significantly decreased.

Therefore, many states are developing special programs that contribute to the conservation of the species.

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People and Banking Jungle Chicken

Many of the wild ancestors of domestic animals became extinct because they were exterminated by humans, and the habitat was rapidly changing. A sad fate befell the ancestors of the cow and horse. They were exterminated in the Middle Ages.

The once vast habitat of the Banking Jungle Chicken is shrinking along with the rainforest. However, in national parks, this species is protected not only as a natural component of ecosystems.

Nowadays, experts have recorded about 700 breeds of chickens with various properties. Most of the breed diversity is concentrated in Europe, where breeding work is actively carried out.

Usually, the efforts of breeders are aimed at maintaining two directions of the formation of breeds - meatiness and egg production. But chicken is seen not only as a food source, but also as an aesthetic object. In this case, the selection is carried out according to the characteristics of the size and shape of the body, the state of the plumage, crest and beard. Birds with a special vociferousness also belong to decorative breeds.

There is one more direction of selection - this is the fighting qualities of the roosters. In the latter case, wild banking jungle chickens are especially in demand, since at home the roosters lose their ability to fight for the abundance and safety of the harem.

Among the people, aesthetic needs in relation to chickens have always faded into the background. But in the villages, the owners of the farmsteads have always been proud of a beautiful rooster, which showed the color of a wild Indian ancestor. Such roosters live for a long time, as they are protected as a work of art.

Of the industrially important breeds, the most famous are the Bress Gallic chickens, or French meat chickens. This breed is considered elite. It is used for the production of both meat and eggs. In order for these completely white chickens to carry well, they are not castrated. To produce meat quickly, adolescents are castrated.

The breeding qualities of the Bress Gallic chickens made them popular all over the world, although the French consider these chickens to be their property.

Wild Ancestral Instinct and Domestic Chickens

The massive use of chickens as a source of eggs and meat has become possible due to the organization of the flock and the peculiarities of nesting behavior. The following instincts have been preserved in the domestic chicken, which once helped to domesticate the wild bird of South Asia.

  1. The organization of the pack. When chicks grow up to the stage of changing down to feathers, they develop secondary sexual characteristics. After a couple of months, the males begin to arrange fights, as a result of which the dominant individual is determined. This allows people to use the "extra" males for meat. One rooster for every ten hens will be the producer and keeper. But as a result of natural selection, the most aggressive rooster remains, which people do not always like. Often the most pugnacious rooster is sent for meat, which defends its harem from people. It remains to "lead" the harem with a cock of moderate mood. The largest cock - an overview of the breeds.
  2. The undoubted advantage of wild ancestors is the absence of the instinct for migration. There is enough food in the jungle all year round, so it makes no sense for wild chickens to fly to other lands. The absence of the desire to change places creates the stability of the flock, as a result of which the chickens, even with wild grazing in the courtyard and on the street, do not go far from the chicken coop.
  3. A sophisticated voice control system for the flock and chicks once helped keep chickens at the "self-government" level. It is enough for a person to look closely, and most importantly, to listen to what the chickens are doing in order to understand which individuals will conscientiously breed chickens, and which are incapable of such complex behavior.
  4. Of no small importance for the domestication of chickens are the vocal data of roosters. Morning crowing has become an element of the culture of many peoples, which is captured in fairy tales and legends. The rooster's cry drives away evil spirits and announces the rising of the sun. For chickens, this signal is like the sound of a bugle that gathers soldiers to form. After the morning crow of the rooster, the flock should not only wake up: the chickens should gather around their vociferous leader. Roosters with good voices could gather many chickens around them, which contributed to the transmission of vocal genes from generation to generation.

Incubator breeding of chickens leads to the degeneration of their instinctive base. For this reason, new breeds are not formed under cage conditions. The retention of wild ancestral instincts is an indicator of the integrity of the domestic chicken genome, which is a prerequisite for good health and environmental resistance.

Wild Banking Jungle Chicken is an asset of the whole world, as it is the guarantor of successful work on breeding new breeds and maintaining the genotype of domestic chicken. Moreover, to perform their functions, wild chickens need a large number. Otherwise, the isolation of populations with a small number of individuals will contribute to the accumulation of micromutations and the manifestation of the effect of closely related crossing, which can lead to negative consequences for wild and domestic chickens.

Wild chickens - ancestors of domestic hens, photos and videos

Hello, our dear readers and readers! We are all accustomed to treating chickens as poultry, and few remember that feathered beauties once lived freely, in the wild, and did not dream of moving to a warm chicken coop! And today, wild chickens enjoy their freedom, although there are much fewer of them on the planet than before domestication.

We are pleased to present you a very interesting material! Today we will talk about such birds that played an important role in poultry farming - they were the ancestors of absolutely all breeds that exist today! So, let's look at what they are.

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