Fun Argus Pheasant Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 11, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Argus pheasant facts about the biggest species of pheasants.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

If you are looking to study beautiful avian species from the continent of Asia, then you must read about the great argus pheasant. These pheasants are the largest amongst their types and are known for their stunning eye-shaped patterns on their tail feathers and wings. They derive their name due to these eye patterns from the folklore of Greek mythology. Argus Panoptes was a Greek giant who had a thousand eyes. Speaking of giants, the male great argus is quite a giant itself in regards to its tail which is the longest of any avian creature. These pheasants have three subspecies with one of them being the now-extinct doubled-banded argus.  The other two subspecies are the Malay Peninsula great argus and the Borneo great argus. So, if you want to read more about these pheasants, scroll down to read some interesting information about them. 

For facts and info on other avians, take a look at the Indian peafowl and the peahen.

Argus Pheasant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Argus Pheasant?

The great argus pheasant (Argusianus argus) is the biggest type of pheasant present on the planet. These birds are known for their patterned wings and feathers, long tail feathers, and beautiful plumage.

What class of animal does an Argus Pheasant belong to?

Being a pheasant bird, it belongs to the class of Aves and the order Galliformes.

How many Argus Pheasants are there in the world?

While some reports have estimated that the total number of great argus pheasants in the wild can range up to 100,000 individuals, the data might be inaccurate. Owing to the loss of forest habitats and rampant hunting from forests, the species of birds have faced a sharp decline in their population.

Where does an Argus Pheasant live?

The great argus pheasant can be found in the forest areas of various countries in Southeast Asia. These areas include Sumatra and Borneo. Along with Sumatra and Borneo, they are also found in different forests in the Malay Peninsula. Apart from these places, the great argus pheasant species have found their way into various zoos and enclosures around the world. Usually, in the wild, these birds prefer to live at around 4000ft above sea level.

What is an Argus Pheasant's habitat?

A lot of research has been done regarding the habitat 0f the great argus pheasant. This species of birds mainly inhabit the lowland tropical forests of places like Borneo, in Asia. These birds are known to have home ranges that are relatively small and vary between one and three hectares. The males are known for their particular routines within these home ranges. In their home ranges, males will often clear out spaces on the forest floor. Interestingly, you will not find a high number of these birds living in secondary forests, that were both old and young. Although this species can be seen throughout the day, they are somewhat crepuscular. This means that the great argus pheasant is primarily active during the hours of dawn and dusk.

Who do Argus Pheasants live with?

The great argus pheasant is thought to be a solitary bird that is also very territorial. They are not seen living around with other great argus birds. Males tend to get very aggressive when other male birds invade their territories.

How long does an Argus Pheasant live?

Great argus pheasants have not been studied when it comes down to the lifespan of these birds in the wild. However, many zoos around the world have recorded the age of these pheasants. Both males and females have been reported to live for around 20 years in captivity. According to sources, the longest-living great argus pheasant was believed to have been a male who died at the age of 33 years.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction and breeding between the males and the females of the great argus tend to pique the interest of researchers and scientists. The breeding season of the great argus has no set times. The males clear out an area in the forest that becomes their breeding site. Females are attracted to males by the distinct argus pheasant call. Only one male inhabits a single breeding site. Once the females make their way to this breeding site, the male bird will try to woo the female through certain physical displays. The male great argus dances around the male with the tail feathers and wings spread. They spread their wings to reveal hundreds of eye-like patterns on the tail feathers and the wing feathers. A female great argus pheasant chooses the male bird with the prettiest and brightest feathers.

Once the mating is over, females lay one or two eggs per clutch. The female great argus will incubate these eggs for a period of up to four weeks. After that, the eggs hatch, and the baby great Argus emerges. Following the eggs hatching, the chicks are protected by the female from predators and they are the ones who take care of the chick's diet.

Great Argus is thought to be sexually mature between the ages of two and three. It has also been observed that within a year of their lives, the young birds leave their mothers and wander off to live alone.

What is their conservation status?

Unfortunately, loss of habitat and excessive hunting, especially for its feathers, has led the great argus to be listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Argus Pheasant Fun Facts

What do Argus Pheasants look like?

(Argus pheasants have a diet mixed with insects, seeds, and plants.)

The great argus pheasants (Argusianus argus) are beautiful birds with distinct patterns on their tail feathers and wings. Males are prettier and more colored than females. They have brown plumage filled with black spots and patterns, with males having much more than females. In contrast to the dark brown or rusty plumage, the heads of the great argus pheasants have a blue coloration. Adding more to the color contrast are the yellow beaks and red feet. These birds are also guilty of having beautiful eyes that are a mixture of red and brown. In keeping with the beautiful eyes, these birds have even more stunning eye-like patterns on their tails and wings. These birds are thought to develop patterns in their third year of life.

How cute are they?

While they might get aggressive over territories, the great Argus is pretty cute. The wonderful coloration and patterns on their bodies along with their adorable and astonishing mating dance make these birds a sight to behold.

How do they communicate?

The great argus communicates through calls and physical displays. Their calls are very loud and can be heard from at least a mile away. This makes the pheasants an easy target for predators despite the birds remaining hidden within the forest.

How big is an Argus Pheasant?

The great argus is the biggest among the group of pheasants. The birds are known to measure between 63-79 in (160-200 cm) with a tail of 41-56 in (105-143 cm). Astoundingly, the total length of the tail is almost three-quarters of the entire body length. In comparison, the crested argus is almost three times smaller than the great argus.

How fast can an Argus Pheasant move?

Due to their notoriety for being well-hidden in the forest vegetation, there are no substantial reports on the total speed of the argus pheasant. These birds have been primarily seen foraging on the ground even though they possess the ability to fly.

How much does an Argus Pheasant weigh?

Being the largest species of pheasants, this avian species weighs around 3.5-6 lb (1.6-2.7 kg).  

What are the male and female names of the species?

For this species, male pheasants are referred to as cocks while female pheasants are known as hens.

What would you call a baby Argus Pheasant?

Going by the usual naming convention, young pheasants are known as chicks.

What do they eat?

Being omnivores in nature, these pheasants are known to include a variety of things in their diet. Primarily insects and small invertebrates constitute their food. However, these birds can also survive on seeds, plants, leaves, and stems in their diet. The great argus is a species of opportunistic feeders and does not have any fixed or specific diet plans.

Are they aggressive?

These pheasants can be quite aggressive while defending their territories during the breeding season.

Would they make a good pet?

No, due to their status of being vulnerable in the wild, this bird will not make for a great pet. Moreover, while kept in captivity, it will need a large enclosure that mimics the native habitat of this bird.

Did you know...

Interestingly, even if their displays and mating behavior suggest that the great argus is a polygamous bird, later research has shown them to be monogamous.

Great argus pheasants are sexually dimorphic with the males being significantly bigger than the females.

The great argus also has the distinction of having no oil glands in their bodies.

What do Argus Pheasants sound like?

This species of pheasant are famous for their calls, especially during the breeding season. Their call can be described as a loud 'kow-wow' which can be heard from a distance of at least a mile.

Can Argus Pheasants fly?

Despite the pheasants spending the majority of their lives on the ground, you may be surprised to know that the argus pheasant can fly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the black-necked stilt and the marbled murrelet.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Argus pheasant coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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