Malayan Great Argus

(Argusianus argus argus)


The male Malayan Great Argus has the longest tail feathers of any wild bird. The bird's taxonomic and common names both derive from Argus, the hundred-eyed giant, from Greek mythology (a reference to the many eye-like spots on the Argus's wings and tail).


The males remarkable wing-fan courtship display is preceded by marching in a circle in front of the female, while stomping his feet loudly.


Extreme southern Myanmar and southwest Thailand south to peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra


Understory of dense tropical forests


Great Arguses are omnivorous, with a diet that varies depending on season (ants, seeds, fallen fruit, shoots, slugs, and grubs)


Males are polygynous; they call and maintain dancing grounds (large areas from which all seedlings, stones and leaves have been removed) to attract females. Courtship consists of raising and fanning the tail and wings to reveal ocelli on the wings. After mating the females retreat into the jungle build a nest bowl lined with dead grass stems, often above ground in the crotch of a tree or atop a tree stump. Her two eggs hatch in about 25 days; the chicks have rufous-chestnut down, very dark above, paler below.


Near Threatened

At the Aviary

See the Malayan Great Argus in our Tropical Rainforest exhibit.