Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Near Threatened

Great Argus (Argusianus argus)


French: Argus géant German: Argusfasan Spanish: Argos real
Other common names: Great Argus-pheasant

Phasianus Argus


, 1766,

“Tartaria Chinensi”; error = Sumatra


Supposedly extinct form bipunctatus, possibly from Tioman I (off Peninsular Malaysia) or perhaps from Java, known only from a portion of a single male primary of uncertain origin, has been considered a race of present species or, alternatively, a distinct species; the most recent analysis of the feather’s structure and pattern suggests that it is merely anomalous (representative of abnormal growth), and the feather should not therefore be taken as evidence for existence (or former existence) of an additional taxon of Argusianus#R. Races rather well differentiated. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. argus (Linnaeus, 1766) – extreme S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and SW Thailand S to Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra.
  • A. a. grayi (Elliot, 1865) – Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 160–200 cm (tail 105–143 cm), 2040–2720 g; female 72–76 cm (tail 30–36 cm), 1360–1700 g. Only in C Malaysia could present species be... read more


    Male has two distinctive loud calls, a bisyllabic “kwow-wow”, repeated up to c. 12... read more


    In Peninsular Malaysia, inhabits tall logged forest and unlogged primary dipterocarp forest at many... read more

    Food and feeding

    A wide variety of plant and invertebrate remains (mainly arthropods) have been found in droppings; mainly fruits of Palmae, Annonaceae and... read more


    Season not recorded, but vary both within and between years; eggs found from early Mar to early Jul in Peninsular Malaysia, but small young... read more


    Sedentary. Monthly home ranges of two males were of 1·0–2·7 ha during Nov... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened; currently considered Near Threatened. Mace-Lande: vulnerable. CITES II. Prior to mid 1990s known from a total of more than 130 localities range-wide... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Great Argus (Argusianus argus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).