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Great argus pheasant

Argusianus argus argus

Male great argus pheasant at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae

The great argus pheasant is endemic to the jungles of Sumatra, Borneo and the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

They tend to feed on the forest floor, consuming insects, seeds, fruit and flowers.

Interesting facts!

  • This species was given its name by zoologist Carl Linnaeus because of the frequent eye-like pattern on their wings, in reference to the hundred-eyed giant Argus in Greek mythology.
  • Great argus pheasants have a spectacular breeding display. The male clears an open spot in the forest and prepares a dancing ground. He announces himself with loud calls to attract females, then he dances before her with his wings spread into two enormous fans.
  • The male of the species is the largest of all pheasants, with the total length of its tail making up almost three quarters of its body length!


Due to ongoing habitat loss and hunting, the great argus pheasant is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

The pair of pheasants at Paignton Zoo are in the European Studbook for the species.