Breeding ecology of red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) in Deva Vatala National Park, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Maqsood Anwar, Sakhawat Ali, Muhammad Rais, Tariq Mahmood

Abstract


Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus murghi) was reported for the first time in 2010 from Pakistan in Deva Vatala National Park, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The present study investigated breeding aspects such as nesting, breeding season, clutch size and hatching success of the species at 10 selected sites in the national park. Nests were mostly found on slopes with dense vegetation cover dominated by Lantana camara and Adhatoda zeylanica. The nesting material consisted of dry leaves, downy feathers, and twigs of plants. The nests were found at sloppy areas as a small depression of 2.5-4 inches in soil made with the help of feet and beak for laying eggs. The breeding season of Red Jungle Fowl expanded from January till July with peak in spring season. Red Jungle Fowl formed harem with dominant male maintaining a territory and reproduced with a group of females throughout the breeding season. Harem formation in Red Jungle Fowl was observed from March to May with average harem size of three females with one male. The average clutch size of Red Jungle Fowl in the study area was 5.5±1.5 eggs per nest. Maximum chicks with hen were observed in June (3.1±0.43) and July (3.3±0.36). The forests in Deva Vatala National Park had thick vegetation cover due to occurrence of heavy rains during Monsoon season, when insects were abundant. The thick cover provided shelter to chicks and insects provide food to them. Our results provide some valuable baseline information on breeding aspects of this least studied species in Pakistan which can be used for its conservation in the park.

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