The range of the true species stretches from northeast India (where the pure species has almost certainly been diluted with back-crosses from domestic breeds) eastwards across southern China and down into Malaysia and Indonesia.
Each of these various regions had its own race or subspecies such as:
- Gallus gallus gallus Indochina
- Gallus gallus bankiva Java - Bankiva Fowl
- Gallus gallus jabouillei Vietnam
- Gallus gallus murghi India
- Gallus gallus spadiceus Myanmar (considered by some the true ancestor of the domestic bird)
- Gallus gallus domesticus (the domestic Chicken)
Male and female birds show very strong sexual dimorphism (visual physical differences between the sexes).
Males are much larger; they have large red fleshy wattles on the head and long, bright gold and bronze feathers forming a "shawl" or "cape" over the back of the bird from the neck to the lower back. The tail is composed of long, arching feathers that initially look black but shimmer with blue, purple and green in good light.
The female's plumage is typical of this family of birds in being cryptic and designed for camouflage as she alone looks after the eggs and chicks. She also has no fleshy wattles on the head.