Jungle Cock



January 2007, I received a message from a man who, for the past 25 years, has been raising chickens for pets, eggs and feathers for fly tying. This summer he is getting new pheasants and cocks just for fly tying, but is surprised to see Gray (Sonnerat's) Jungle Fowl, known to fly tyers as jungle cock eye feathers, are very expensive. Some capes sell as high as $240.00 US. His questions are:
Why are these chickens so expensive?
Where can you purchase Jungle Fowl eggs, or chicks?
Is there anyone raising them in New Brunswick?

In my life I believed I have met the "cream of the crop" in the realm of fly tying. As a novice fly tyer I know what Jungle Cock eyes are used for and even own a small cape, there was no way I could answer this man's questions. However, I knew who could.

Bryant Freeman, friend, Master Fly Tyer, angler and owner/manager of Eskape Anglers in Moncton is considered by all an authority on flies and fly tying materials. I asked him for his help and this is what he had to say.

First of all you should know some of the history on the Gray (Sonnerat's)Jungle Fowl, which is a wild bird from India. Until 1967 the bird was obtainable from the fly tying suppliers. Due to no regulations there were lots of birds, which were being exploited for their feathers by fly tyers, the world over.

The CONVENTION IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES (CITES)in 1967 introduced an act which put this bird on the endangered species list type II on the (CITES)list. Therefore no more birds could legally be sent out of India.
There was a grower in England, who grew these birds for his own use before 1967, and any birds which can be traced to this flock are legal, but they have to be accompanied by a (CITES)Certificate.
What you are seeing on the internet are illegal birds or capes being sold illegally. Most of the time those who are selling them do not know any better.
If you wish to obtain a legal Jungle Cock neck you will expect to pay 250 dollars for a number one. Several years ago, I sold many traditional salmon flies to Russia and they all contained Jungle Cock feathers. I first obtained legal feathers, then when I went to ship them I had to send to Fredericton to get permits from them, after I showed them my legal permit, which were obtained through the DNR
Office by Fax, I then had to go to Canada Customs and Revenue Office and show them the flies, the (CITES) Permit, and the (CITES)Export Permit from Fredericton. The day they were shipped the Customs Officers were there to watch me sealed the box.
So, if you are interested in obtaining the eggs you will have to get them with (CITES)Permits. Where you will get these is unknown to me. I do know of a lad who tried it several times in New Brunswick and if you wish to sleep with the birds to keep them warm then you would be a good candidate to raise them, otherwise I suggest if you want eyes to use to make your salmon flies, they can be found in legal places.
Do not expect to obtain them from India as it is impossible, unless you do it illegally. Last year I had a call from India from a dealer who said he would send me some Jungle Cock. I told him I needed the papers (CITES). If he had no papers I didn't want them. I never heard back from him.