Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Urban Wild Red junglefowls in Singapore

Wild red junglefowls are commonly seen in different urban districts in Singapore in recent years. There is a group of more than 30 wild red junglefowls residing in the field and trees near the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Sin Ming Avenue. It is interesting to watch the behaviour of these ancestors of the domestic chicken. I managed to capture on video some of their fascinating behavior, including fighting and mating.

Video part 1/2 (be sure to watch the part where two young males fight, starting at 1:23)

Video part 2/2 (be sure to watch the part where a popular hen was mating with one of the cocks and then ..., starting at 1:26)

Once, while they were leisurely foraging on the field, they all suddenly started to run towards the same direction, to the trees and hedges, calling frantically as they ran. It was indeed a very astonishing sight - more than 20 chickens dashing across the field frantically. I immediately realized they must be running for their lives, and started to look around for the danger that these chickens were running away from. No, I didn't see any dogs or cats. Only when I looked towards the sky did I see a raptor flying up towards the roof of a high-rise building, which indicated a failed attempt by the raptor to catch one of the chickens for a meal. Now I know that the red junglefowls are alert, though they don't look like so, and can run really fast.

This large group of red junglefowls roost for the night in the trees on the two sides of Sin Ming Avenue, hence some of them would need to cross the road to their roosting places when it is time to rest. At about 6:45pm, these chickens would fly across the road one by one. Many of them do not fly the shortest path across the road, but choose a longer flight path of more than 40 metres. Some would land on the ground and some would land in a tree. Occasionally, a few would take the risk of running across the road.

The field near the junction of Upper Thomson Road and by the side of Flame Tree Park Condominium is really a good habitat for red junglefowls. It has an area of about one hectare, with tall and short trees, and hedges too for small chicks to hide. Yes, small chicks can be attacked by adult males. Well, in Singapore, such a nice field would probably be "developed" in the future and replaced by buildings. Even before buildings are built on the field, the habitat would be disturbed regularly by noisy lawnmowers.

Would Singapore ever be bold enough to try what Paris is trying - natural lawnmowers, grazing sheep to mow lawns?

Sometimes, as I am watching those wonderful wild chickens, I would visualize a wonderful picture of the field with red junglefowls as well as other birds, a few black sheep and a few urban farmers tending to their crops. Wow, would this be the concept of Rubanization by Tay Kheng Soon?

1 comment:

  1. I like this article because you present the very informative facts of Red Jungle Fowl. I also like this Red Jungle Fowl pictures that you place here.