email a friend
printable version
NT
Great Argus Argusianus argus

Justification
This spectacular pheasant is undoubtedly suffering from the twin threats of habitat loss and hunting throughout its extensive range. It is probably undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction and is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
Argusianus argus is confined to the Sundaic lowlands, where it is recorded from south Tenasserim, Myanmar, peninsular and south-west Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Brunei (extirpated from many areas), Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001). It is generally uncommon, although this species has probably not declined very rapidly because it ranges up to elevations where forest loss is less severe and occurs it in selectively logged sites. Densities recorded in south-western Sumatra ranged from 0.9 to 3.7 birds/km2 (Winarni et al. 2009).

Population justification
The total population is estimated to number more than 100,000 individuals.

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be in decline at a moderately rapid rate, owing to hunting and habitat loss.

Ecology
It occurs in tall, dry, lowland primary, secondary and logged forests, up to 1,300 m, but principally, below 900 m (BirdLife International 2001, Dinata et al. 2008). It is much sparser in deciduous forest and rare to absent from lowland peat swamp and white-sand heath forests. A recent study in Sumatra, utilising radio-tracking, habitat sampling, camera trapping and transect surveys found that territories averaged 14.5 ha, used mostly by resident males, who showed a preference for undisturbed forest (Winarni et al. 2009). Both sexes show a preference for intact forest with large trees and an open understorey. The species's diet includes fruits, seeds, flowers, leaf buds and invertebrates (Winarni et al. 2009).

Threats
Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia and Malaysia has been extensive (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998). At present, less than 13% of Sumatra's original lowland forest cover remains (Winarni et al. 2009). Declines are compounded by trapping for the cage-bird industry. However, the species's use of secondary growth and higher elevations implies that it is not immediately threatened. The impacts of anthropogenic threats may be compounded by pressures from drought events, such as those linked to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) (Winarni et al. 2009).


Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the size of the population. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Asses the effect of hunting both inside and outside protected areas. Conduct local education programmes to discourage hunting. Enforce the protection afforded to the species's habitat through protected areas and protect additional large areas of forest in areas where it occurs.

References
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Dinata, Y.; Nugroho, A.; Haidir, I. A.; Linkie, M. 2008. Camera trapping rare and threatened avifauna in west-central Sumatra. Bird Conservation International 18(1): 30-37.

Winarni, N. L.; O'Brien, T. G.; Carroll, J. P.; Kinnaird, M. F. 2009. Movements, distribution and abundance of Great Argus Pheasants (Argusianus argus) in a Sumatran rainforest. The Auk 126(2): 341-350.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Argusianus argus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Great argus (Argusianus argus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,350,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species