The jungle fowl is a variation of the pheasant family of birds which lives, as its name implies, in the jungle. It can be found in numerous parts of India and Sri Lanka, as well as Southern China, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The jungle cock is historically important because DNA testing has shown it to be the original ancestor of all breeds of modern-day domesticated chickens.
Much like the peacock and the peahen of the peafowl, to which it is closely related, the male of the jungle fowl, known as a "jungle cock", has an extravagant tail plumage which it can display in a brilliant fan-like array useful in mating rituals, whereas the "jungle hen" is a plain, drab gray color, better for camouflaging her from predators while she is raising her young.
The feathers of the jungle cock in particular, are valued by fly fisherman for their use in tying fly fishing lures, because they have eye-like patterns which closely resemble the eyes of baitfish.
Although originally evolved to live in tropical jungles, jungle fowl have proved adept at surviving in various types of climate. They primarily live by eating seeds, but can also eat insects, which what the jungle hen feeds her young.
There are four recognized subspecies of jungle fowl, although it is possible to breed them with each other:
Although not officially listed as a critically endangered species, jungle fowl populations are severely threatened in many areas by loss of habitat, hunting for food (they taste like chicken), and genetic pollution as jungle cocks and free-ranging domesticated chicken cocks venture into each others' territories where farm villages border jungles and interbreed with the hens.