The most abundant bird today is the domestic chicken. Domestic chickens originate with the Red Jungle Fowl.
The Red Jungle Fowl is similar in many ways to today's domestic chicken. They have long, strong legs that end in two four clawed feet that are used for scratching. The stout bill is also readily used for this activity. The Red Jungle Fowl has areas of bare skin around his eyes, combs and wattles. They also have spurs on the backs of their legs which are used to fighting, usually caused by bids for dominance. Junglefowls are not known for their flying ability. They have curved rounded wings that enable swift flight. Unfortunately they can only fly for very short periods of time. The female Red Jungle Fowl is substantially smaller (one and a half feet long with a weight of about one to one and a half pounds) than the male (about two and a half feet long weighting about one a half pounds to two). It should also be noted that the male Red Jungle Fowl is louder than the female and will announce his presence in the morning to assert his dominance. The male Red Jungle Fowl is quite striking with an upper plumage of russet-gold and a lower plumage of red and deep green. His tail feathers are long and green. The female's upper plumage is buff while her lower plumage is russet in color.
Early origins of the Red Jungle Fowl include domestication in India in 3200 BC and in china in 1400BC. The Red Jungle Fowl is clearly one of the oldest domesticated birds. The popularity of the domestic Red Jungle Fowl quickly spread to Europe. Oddly enough the original popularity was not for eating but for cockfighting and use in religious rituals. The farming for meat and eggs came later. In the wild the Red Jungle Fowl is seen primarily in forests in Southeast Asia, Pakistan and India. The domesticated varieties are seen worldwide. Today's wild Red Jungle Fowl may have genetic contamination from today's domestic chickens. This theory is supported by a lack of Eclipse plumage Red Jungle Fowls seen in the wild.