Along the Himalaya, in India, Burma, China, Indochina, Philippines
Tropical homeland with varied habitat: dry brush to rain forests or small groves of trees. These birds require ample shelter for retreat when danger threatens.
Faces are almost bare with fleshy combs, wattles, and ear lobes in the male. These are hardly visible in the female. The legs of the male have long sharp spurs. Male coloration is orange, green, black, and red. The female is smaller and colored plain gray and brown or russet. In summer moult, the cock develops an "eclipse plumage". He sheds the long, curved tail feathers and long decorative neck plumes, which are replaced by short, rounded black feathers.
These birds are fast flyers. When danger threatens, they will quickly hide in brush or perform "chimneying", spiraling vertically upwards through a gap in the forest canopy. Captive wild fowl are very shy toward humans.
In the spring, cocks fight for territory, which they share with three to five hens. Hens make hollow nests in hidden places. They lay 5-6 white to rosy-cream colored eggs. Incubation is 19-21 days.
"Gallus" is Latin for "cock" and refers to the chicken-like associations of this species. These birds are the ancestors of domestic chickens. Domestication started more than 2,500 years B.C. They were found in ancient Egypt, Greece, and southern Europe. They were introduced to America about 470 years ago. Domestics outnumber wild populations. They have a talent for swallowing small fortunes. Throughout the ruby mining areas of Burma and elsewhere, rubies and sapphires have been found in the gizzards with stones used to aid in food digestion.