All chickens in the world descended from red junglefowl species native to S'pore

Unfortunately, there are about 100 red junglefowls left in Singapore.

Belmont Lay | February 03, 2017, 04:41 PM

Red junglefowls have suddenly come under the spotlight in Singapore.

This was after news broke that free-roaming chickens in the wild here are being culled -- as we enter the Year of the Rooster -- because of complaints that they make too much noise.

For the uninitiated, though, the most interesting fact to come out of this entire episode so far is that the red junglefowl native to Singapore is the original bird that spawned all other chickens in the world.

This is according to Wild City, a 2015 high-definition documentary with a lot of glorious slow-motion shots chronicling the sheer variety of wildlife in Singapore.

From 17min 09 sec mark:

Narrated by David Attenborough, the documentary covered the red junglefowl species of chicken as it is a significant native species:

As the city bustles on, some neighbourhoods leapt a step back in time. To meet a bird that might seem familiar, but is very different. Red junglefowl. The ancestor of the chicken.

Every variety of the chicken in the world today is descended from this single Asian species.

But these are not farm animals. They are the original article.

These wild predecessors roamed the forests of Singapore in the days when it was just a handful of villages.

"Cockadoodledoo" was once heard all over the island. A cry of dominance for every male to hear. Only the strongest get to father the next generation. Males look for the best feeding spot and guide the females towards them. Keeping an eye out for danger.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get his hen safely to the other side.

Unlike their domestic cousins, junglefowl are able to jump and fly for short distances.

As the males grow up, they start to compete for female attention. The lawn becomes a dojo and martial arts training ground for an adult battle. Fought with sharp spurs on their feet.

When two evenly matched males meet, the eyes lock and battle begins. Only one can win the right to mate. The loser is forced into retreat.

Scenes like these, may soon become a thing of the past. While junglefowl are common in Asia, but there are only roughly a hundred left in Singapore.

Pushed to the margins by urban development, not every animal can keep up with the city's breakneck pace.

Running counter to the documentary, The Straits Times, quoting "authorities", reported on Feb. 2 that the red junglefowl can only be found on Pulau Ubin and the Western Catchment area.

This is despite Wild City showing scenes of the red junglefowl residing in Sin Ming and Thomson area.

ST reported:

However, the authorities said purebred red junglefowl are known to occur only on offshore Pulau Ubin and the Western Catchment area.

And it is difficult to mistake the red junglefowl for regular chickens.

The purebred red junglefowl have grey legs, whereas chickens mostly have yellow legs.

Female junglefowl do not sport red combs, while chickens do.

The red junglefowl can fly and are quieter than chickens. The male red junglefowl has high-pitched and truncated calls, while roosters, male chickens, have a call that is louder and longer.