Temporal range: Late Miocene–recent
|Grey junglefowl (G. sonneratii) hen|
Junglefowl are the only four living species of bird from the genus Gallus in the bird order Galliformes, and occur in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. They diverged from their common ancestor about 4–6 million years ago.
These are large birds, with colourful plumage in males, but are nevertheless 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. These duties are performed by the drab and well-camouflaged female. Females and males do not form pair bonds; instead, the species has a polygynandrous mating system in which each female will usually mate with several males. Aggressive social hierarchies exist among both females and males, from which the term "pecking order" originates.
The junglefowl are omnivorous, eating a variety of leaves, plant matter, invertebrates such as slugs and insects, and occasionally small mice and frogs.
One of the species in this genus, the red junglefowl, is of historical importance as the ancestor of the domesticated chicken, although the grey junglefowl, Sri Lankan junglefowl and green junglefowl is likely to be also involved.
The genus Gallus was erected by the French scientist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in his Ornithologie published in 1760. The type species is the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). The Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus had introduced the genus Gallus in the 6th edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1748, but Linnaeus dropped the genus in the important tenth edition of 1758 and put the red junglefowl together with the common pheasant in the genus Phasianus. The red junglefowl and common pheasant diverged about 18–23 million years ago. This pairwise divergence time was also the same between the other three junglefowls and the pheasant. As the publication date of Linnaeus's sixth edition was before the 1758 starting point of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, Brisson and not Linnaeus is considered as the authority for the genus.
|Cladogram showing the phylogenetic relationships between the species|
The genus contains four species.
|Image||Scientific name||Common Name||Distribution|
|Gallus gallus||Red junglefowl||India, Pakistan, eastwards across Indochina and southern China and into Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia|
|Gallus lafayettii||Sri Lankan junglefowl||Sri Lanka|
|Gallus sonneratii||Grey junglefowl||Indian Peninsula, but extends into Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, south Rajasthan, and Pakistani Punjab|
|Gallus varius||Green junglefowl||Java, Bali, Lombok, Komodo, Flores, Rinca, and small islands linking Java with Flores, Indonesia|
Prehistorically, the genus Gallus was found all over Eurasia; in fact, it appears to have evolved in southeastern Europe. Several fossil species have been described, but their distinctness is not firmly established in all cases:
- Gallus aesculapii (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Greece) - possibly belongs into Pavo
- Gallus moldovicus (Late Pliocene of Moldavia) - sometimes misspelt moldavicus, may be synonym of Pavo bravardi
- Gallus beremendensis (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene of Eastern Europe)
- Giant junglefowl Gallus karabachensis (Early Pleistocene of Nagorno-Karabakh)
- Gallus tamanensis (Early Pleistocene? of Taman Peninsula)
- Gallus kudarensis (Early/Middle Pleistocene of Kudaro, South Ossetia)
- Gallus europaeus (Middle Pleistocene of Italy)
- Gallus sp. (Middle/Late Pleistocene of Trinka Cave, Moldavia)
- Gallus imereticus (Late Pleistocene of Gvardjilas-Klde, Imeretia)
- Gallus meschtscheriensis (Late Pleistocene of Soungir, Russia)
- Gallus georgicus (Late Pleistocene - Early Holocene of Georgia)
- Gallus sp. (Late Pleistocene of Krivtcha Cave, Ukraine)
- Gallus sp. (Early Holocene of Dnieper region)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gallus.|
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- Eriksson, J.; et al. (2008). "Identification of the yellow skin gene reveals a hybrid origin of the domestic chicken". PLOS Genetics. 4 (2). e1000010. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000010. PMC 2265484. PMID 18454198.
- Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 1. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Vol. 1, p. 26, Vol. 1, p. 166.
- Peters, James Lee, ed. (1934). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 118.
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- Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturæ per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 158.
- Allen, J.A. (1910). "Collation of Brisson's genera of birds with those of Linnaeus". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 28: 317–335. hdl:2246/678.
- . "Article 3". International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th ed.). London: International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature. 1999. ISBN 978-0-85301-006-7.
- Tiley, G.P.; Pandey, A.; Kimball, R.T.; Braun, E.L.; Burleigh, J.G. (2020). "Whole genome phylogeny of Gallus: introgression and data‑type effects". Avian Research. 11 (7). doi:10.1186/s40657-020-00194-w.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Pheasants, partridges & francolins". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved November 22, 2017.