Saturday, 1 October, 2022

Jungle fowls face a threat of extinction

Jungle fowls face a threat of extinction

In a forest, the branches of the mango tree are quiet, with no haze. Even the wind does not move the branches. I look at the sky in silence. Suddenly, a sharp sound broke the silence that infused the environment. The leaves of the mango tree also shook rapidly with the arrival of a bird. In the fullest sense of the word, a very beautiful jungle fowl was sitting on a mango branch and looking around with restless and frightened eyes. This bird has an interesting colour combination. It has a golden red colour and a dark blue tinge. Males and females can be easily identified due to their different colours. Males are reddish orange to yellow in colour with a red comb (crest) and a yellow patch in the centre. Their tail is metallic blue-black. Females are usually different shades of brown in colour with black markings and buff bands on top. They have reddish-brown and black wavy lines, streaked with brownish-buff below, and the rest being largely black-streaked.

The jungle fowl is smaller than the village rooster. Its size is between 27 to 30 inches with its well-developed trunk. The weight of a jungle fowl is about one kilogram. They prefer to live in open areas. A jungle fowl has the ability to fly as far as any other bird. Female jungle fowls lay eggs at a particular nesting place under a bush or tree. Although they usually lay  eggs throughout the year, they are more likely to lay eggs in March and June. Two to four eggs are laid at a time and they are yellow in colour. It also has a reddish brown colour. They collect food by crawling on the ground. Besides small insects, worms and larvae, jungle fowls also eat tree nuts, grains and fruits.

A jungle fowl creates a musical sound. It walks along the branch and make sounds several times (specifically during sunrise and sunset). While foraging on the ground, a male jungle fowl 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 ones make  “kwikkuk…kwikkukkuk…” sound. Males are more vocal during breeding season. They make various sounds on various occasions, especially at the sight of any female companion or during arrival of any rival and in territorial defence. Herding, unity, and mutual support are the essence of jungle fowls. One of the noble qualities of a jungle fowl is that it protects its species and gives signals to others at the sight of a human being or an enemy.

A jungle fowl is a militant bird. While fighting with an enemy it shows an amazing courage. This bird’s rage subsides following defeat of the enemy and its bleeding. A jungle fowl is a beautiful creature with some stunning colours and feathers. It is a native bird of Bangladesh, which is especially found in the forests of hilly areas as well as in the Sundarbans. It is a brave warrior, also an angel, who foretells the arrival of dawn of a new day. However, unfortunately, jungle fowls are hunted in hilly areas and the Sundarbans although it is an unethical practice. Later, the creatures are sold in public places keeping them in cages in a dishonest manner. If the bad practice goes on unabated then the species will ultimately become extinct in near future. So, it is one of the duties of the people of Bangladesh to prevent from their extinction by taking care of them. Otherwise, the country’s future generation will witness a jungle fowl only through the Internet!


Benazir Ahmed Siddique, a pharmacist and social activist