The Ceylon junglefowl - An endemic bird of Sri Lanka
Common Names: The Ceylon junglefowl (E) Walikukula (S), Kattu-koli (T)
Scientific Name: Gallus lafayettii
Status: Endemic / National bird of Sri Lanka
The Ceylon junglefowl is distributed throughout Sri Lanka, wherever jungle or dense scrub of any extent is to be found, but it is nowadays common only in the wilder parts of the dry zone. It spends its life in the forest or its outskirts, never venturing from cover. However, in wet weather, it likes to frequent open places, such as roadsides or glades, for the purpose of feeding free from drippings from the trees. Most of the daylight hours are spent on the ground. In the evening, they fly up into the trees to roost - usually singly, but sometimes in pairs or family parties. Unless disturbed they will use the same perch for a considerable period of time.
The Junglefowl feeds on grain, weed-seeds, berries, various succulent leaves and buds and a large proportion of small animals, such as crickets, centipedes and termites: the latter form the main food of the chicks.
The main breeding season of the Jungle fowl is in the first quarter of each year, but often a second clutch is laid in August-September, and breeding may go on throughout the year. The chicks are very precocious, learning to scratch as soon as they leave the nest. However, they instantly scatter and hide at the mother's alarm call.
The Ceylon Junglefowl, has rather surprisingly adapted to life in tea estates, where it spends the day under the dense cover, and the nights often up in a tree. It is found in well-shaded tea estates even far away from any natural forest.
The Ceylon Junglefowl is an endemic bird of Sri Lanka and has the distinction of being the National Bird of the country.
Source: Henry, G.M.(1998). A Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka.K.V.G.de Silva & sons, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Photograph: Gihan Jayasinghe