Lifescapes Gallery

8 / Sep / 2010
The Grumble in the Jungle
Grey Junglefowl, Coorg Photograph: Dr. Ajit Huilgol Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Grumble in the Jungle

It’s early morning in Coorg and you’re sitting back, eyes closed, enjoying a steaming mug of Sidapur coffee, when you hear a scratchy Ku-kayak-kyuk-kyuk sound interrupted by a familiar click, followed by a torrent of unprintable language. Chances are the former sound was a Grey Jungle Fowl pottering about for food, and the latter, a frustrated photographer with a blank image, grumbling about fowl play. In fact, these notoriously camera shy birds have left behind a trail of bruised egos and frustrated ambition, especially among the shutterbugs that frequent these jungles hoping to get one good crack at this elusive prey. The subject of all this photographic angst is a handsome creature, often found scavenging elephant dung or browsing through land ploughed by wild boars for berries, seeds and small insects. This black caped crusader has a finely patterned plumage on a grey base with central tail feathers that are dramatically sickle shaped. Its long, dark neck feathers with yellowish plates at the end are both its pride and sorrow. They are responsible for turning a popular proverb on its head by ensuring that the early bird, in this case, becomes the worm. The neck feathers are much in demand in fly-fishing, to be made into artificial flies used instead of worms as bait, and this industry, as much as indiscriminate hunting for food, is threatening the existence of the Grey Jungle Fowl. On a lighter note, one could be forgiven for wondering if the fly-fishing community might perhaps comprise of former wildlife photographers finally getting their own back.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 9:36 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Luis Enrique Ruiz says:

    What a stunning creature, and what a remarkable photograph! How can anyone shoot this bird just to use its feathers for lures? This bird must be protected from those insensitive poachers by implementation of strict laws.

  2. Nisha Ashar says:

    Very nice picture…….., thanks for sharing yr experience & happy to know awareness about the Nature and culture of the Environments…. keep it up…….!!

  3. Pradip Dey says:


  4. Jose Ramapuram, Director - Marketing, Orange County Resorts says:

    I have found that it is easier to hear this bird than to see him. The audio file really helps. I have heard his call from among the Coffee bushes many times as I sat on the front porch of our house in Coorg, sipping Sidapur Coffee :). I have also tip-toed through the Coffee bushes to see this handsome bird and actually seen them from a distance in many cases. They are extremely shy and will disappear at the slightest disturbance

  5. Susan Eapen says:

    WOw! I had deleted the earlier ones without opening. I am sorry now…

  6. jagadish machimanda bopaiah says:

    Nice picture

  7. Gauri says:

    Great writing from a wordsmith as usual!! And a super picture too

  8. vasuda says:

    Great pics and well written too. Makes one want to go to Coorg and see the fowl and its ‘FOWL GAME’ too.

  9. yasmin naomi han chung says:

    amazing colours..designing…awesome is Gods creativity and creation…

  10. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    As always, the writing that accompanies each photograph, good though it usually is (!), is what brings it to life. I am so envious of the flow of words that emanates from the ‘pen’ of the caption writer! May he never run out of ‘ink’!

  11. Giri Cavale says:

    Being a wildlife photographer I know how hard it is to get a good picture of this bird. Well done Ajit. As always you are an inspiration.

  12. Maureen Kerleau says:

    Thanks for all of the beautiful photos. I look forward to them popping up in my mailbox to brighten up my day and bring serenity my thoughts – such a refreshing change from the rest of the unwanted trash. It also makes me want to return to Orange County resorts even though I no longer live in India.

  13. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Looks like this early shutter bug got this bird!!! A beautiful subject to be framed in such style. Again seems to be a member of a fast dwindling species, because I had been to Orange County recently and not once did we see this bird.

  14. Nancy Koeppel says:

    Oh how I would love to be on a porch at Orange County with my Sidapur coffee listening to the Grey Jungle Fowl instead of at my desk looking out at the cold, grey, rainy skies of Brussels listening to the pigeons! At least I have the steaming mug of Sidapur coffee at hand………..

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