Wild female Red Junglefowl sighted at Sin Ming Avenue (Part 1)

on 27th October 2011

“I was at the Sin Ming Avenue, a short distance away from my home, on Sunday morning (9th October 2011) to enjoy the beauty of the Heliconia densiflora ‘Fire Flash’ (left). It was the first time I came across this cultivar then. I am not sure whether it is planted elsewhere in Singapore.

“This ‘Fire Flash’, together with many other ornamental ones, were planted by NParks as part of their Community Garden Program along some stretches of the road.

“After a while, I was surprised to see a female Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), accompanied by a lone Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), foraging in the shade of a banyan tree (Ficus sp.) in the vacant land just next to the Flame Tree Park condo. The last time I saw Red Junglefowls nearby was in 2005. Back then a free ranging cock, together with its harem, were kept as pets by a temple caretaker. The birds would roost in a mango tree inside the temple compound. He gave them away after the Govt imposed a ruling not allowing more than 10 caged chickens to be kept as pets. This ruling was introduced as a preventive measure again the bird flu. There was a Channel News Asia report on 4th June 2005 about the birds that ‘At Adelphi Park off Upper Thomson Road, residents say the wild chickens have been with them for some 50 years now. And the chicken population here is a thriving one, too. The birds even lay eggs now and then in flower pots…’. For those who are unfamiliar with the area, Adelphi Park is not far away from the Sin Ming Ave.

“As I tried to get closer to the Red Junglefowl, the Spotted Dove, as expected, took refuge in the safety of the banyan tree, while the hen move away maintaining a ‘safe’ distance from me. With the crows making a nuisance with their non-stop cawing shortly after my appearance, the Red Junglefowl decided it was time to leave the scene. It made a short dash, flew over the four-lane road to the other side while making the typical distress call and disappeared into the covers provided by the roadside garden.

“An edited video, which also showed the bird taking a prey that looked like an earthworm or a centipede, can be viewed below.”

Sun Chong Hong
11th October 2011

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

5 Responses

  1. “Hello ! I have some questions to the video. We are some people here, who have different opinions if the hen is really wild rd jungle fowl or just a feral crossling with domesticated birds. What makes you sure it is wild ? It has different color and as far as we can see, it has additional toes on the legs.
    Thanks in advance for your answer.”

    I have received the above questions through my youtube channel. Any care to comment? I think the “additional toes” refers to the “spurs”.

  2. Haven’t watch your clip yet as it was blocked here at my work place, will try to view it later, but from the screen shot of the clip shown here, raising the tail that way did in fact looked atypical for junglefowls.

    Regarding the “additional toes”, I do believe they must be referring to the “spur” which is not actually a toe but a torn like structure growing from the back of the tibia, and interestingly, ONLY in adult male gamebirds (Galliform birds) usually. I will try to focus on the legs when I view the video.

    Laying eggs in flowering pots definitely do not sound very natural for the truly wild junglefowls, junglefowls that I had met so far are pretty shy and will run away or FLY away when you attempt to approach them, but there are a number of tame junglefowls that I had met in a few places, at least 1 of them is later proven to be owned by someone. At Bukit Kiara in KL, some mixed fowls are relatively tame but had became very mixed and barely qualified to be called junglefowls as the features of a domestic fowl is often very strong in these individuals that may roam around carparks.

    Singapore, where Red Junglefowl are greatly re-introduced, their genetic purity is always questionable and the problem of genetic pollution is also having the same impact in the neighboring Malaysia, where may junglefowls no longer fully display wild characteristics only.

  3. Just saw your clip, interesting but didnt quite managed to see any spurs, from the habit, I am guessing it still have good junglefowl genes but oddly raise its tail while walking through, if it is not affected by genetics of domestical breed, that could be indicating that it is probably a juvenile male, males would hold its tail upward in Red Junglefowls.

      1. Oh…. I tried to pause some shots which almost seemed to be something tangling to its hind toe only, this definitely looks clearer and spur like. Bisexuality due to duplicated sexual chromosomes, can show sexual feature of both sexes, there are a good number of cases in domestic fowls, such as a cock’s head which crows and a hen’s tail which lays egg, and this does also happens to other sexed creatures outside humans, documented in a number of bird species. I guess that could be one potential cause.

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