- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting one of the world’s largest pheasants: the great Argus pheasant.
The great Argus pheasant (Argusianus argus) lives in the tropical rainforests of the islands of Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay peninsula. It is well known for its characteristic plumage and behavior. Males have very long tail feathers; the two central ones grow to approximately 1.5 m —nearly three-quarters of the bird’s total length. Their secondary wing feathers are decorated with large eyespot markings. Actually, Carl Linnaeus gave the great Argus pheasant its common and genus name after its eye-like pattern on its wings. Its eyespot markings resemble Argus, the many-eyed giant in Greek mythology.
Great Argus pheasants are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red list with a declining population due to ongoing habitat loss and to being hunted in some areas. Due to their large body size and poor flight ability, these birds are easily trapped near their dancing ground. They have been exploited for consumption in most parts of Southeast Asia, and their feathers are used for ornamentation. Watch the video to learn more about this species.
Special thanks to Jonathan Moore for sharing his camera trap footage. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jonatha81270041.
Banner photo: Screenshot of a Great Argus pheasant
Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino