Red Junglefowl

(Linnaeus, 1758)


Red junglefowl or chickens are thought to have been released by poachers on the islands that have never been inhabited as a food source when operating out of illegal poaching camps. The outer island populations still have the ability to fly for short distances.

Identification Guide: Unmistakeable. Of interest, on Diego Garcia, a black and silver plumage is the most predominant, whilst on the outer islands a golden and tan variety is the most numerous.

Status and Distribution:Breeding resident, broods of chicks being found throughout the year. On rat-infested Diego Garcia there is a healthy population of over 100 birds that do not restrict themselves to areas of human habitation. The status and distribution of these once domestic chickens throughout the remainder of BIOT is not fully known; limited evidence suggests that where they were once kept as food on large islands they are still extant e.g. Eagle Island and Ile Sudest, Egmont Islands. Elsewhere, chickens are present on at least: Nelsons Island, Sea Cow, South Brother and Danger Island that are all atolls that were never inhabited.