Great Argus Python Moth Bird

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by Resolution, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    We know the two species of the genus Argusianus A. argusianus and A. greyi , collectively as the Great Argus Pheasant.

    To be clear, it's been fairly well established for more than a decade that the Great Argus is not actually a pheasant at all. The Great Argus is actually a very enigmatic form of peafowl and that peafowl are not pheasants . What is more, the former family Phasianidae has been demonstrated to be an artificial assemblage. Many of the species that we call pheasants are only very distantly related to one another. Many of which like the Peafowl represent their own monophyletic lineages . The once all-inclusive pheasant family is comprised of many different monophyletic lineages without a common recent ancestor. Consequently, the Pheasant family is polyphyletic . The Great Argus is ancient and isolated even amongst its peafowl allies. Its closest relative is the Crested Argus which is as distinctive genetically and ecologically from the Great Argus as the Congo Peafowl is from its closest relative the typical Peafowl- the trained species
    . Perhaps the only time that the Great Argus really resembles a peafowl (in my opinion) is during the post juvenile stage - the six or eight months between juvenile plumage and that of the subadult. For many Great Argus this phase may last for over a year. Those on an optimal diet develop more rapidly. It requires an incredible amount of energy to grow out its disproportionally immense integument . Yeah- that's a big word where another word could have sufficed. But not really - as the Great Argus is continually rebuilding and regenerating its cellular structure. The bird with the best territory has the best source of nutrition and he'll be in the best shape all the year long.

    If the animal manager chooses to remain ignorant about biological definitions of the term integumentry system , they will represent yet another individual that killed more birds than they managed to produce.
    This Great Argus is moulting badly due to nutritionally deficient diet.

    This is necessary for the species tends to produce at least two clutches a year. There is a helper system amongst the young offspring and the fathers are responsible for the well-being of the multi-generational brood while the mother is off setting.

    Male Great Argus tolerate one another quite well. Females tend to not tolerate one another at all. This is also true of Congo Peafowl and Peacock Pheasants.

    This phylogeny of the Argus/ Peacock family tree is monophyletic. The clade of four genera, Rheinardia ( Crested Argus), Argusianus ( Great Argus) Afropavo ( Congo Peafowl) and Pavo ( Typical Peafowl) is genetically isolated and unique enough to warrant classification within their own family the Pavoninidae . But that is my very biased if somewhat educated opinion.
    That's all an aside.

    Clifton9 wanted to talk about the Great Argus so here is a thread to explore this fascinating deep forest peafowl.
    This is my oldest Great Argus male Mr. Chuckles

    Clifton9 please post your illustration of the Great Argus adult male in flight.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  2. FrankYLegend

    FrankYLegend Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 25, 2011

    What is this Argus Peahen? The chicks were hatched in Taipei Zoo earlier this year (unfortunately I couldn't go, the last time I went the aviary was locked up for renovation).

    I'm not sure who is the bird curator at the zoo now, Mr. Wang hasn't replied to my e-mails.

    There's also some footage of males at the zoo:

    I'm concerned about the hybridization of the two Argus species.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  3. clinton9

    clinton9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2011
    Just a rough guide of a flying adult male Great Argus.


    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  4. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I believe that this Great Argus Female (versus Argus Peahen) is the Malaysian species.
    Don't be too concerned about hybridization between the two species as it appears they are sterile or at least the female hybrids are.
  5. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    note the manner in which light and shadow are projected upon the screen that is the expansive surface area of the Great Argus wing.
    The two Argus genera use void as camouflage. In certain ambient light conditions, its as if one can see through the Great Argus. It's not just cryptic against bark or dead leaf matter. It's seemingly without form and something to be seen through rather than a solid object to be stared at.

    Quote:Clinton9, when you quote a message, please delete the portion that includes illustrations as the thread will soon become unsightly and slightly more unreadable.

    Your Great Argus is in fantastic shape. Here are some photographs that may help you make more informed decisions about the morphology of wing, and tail.
    The tail is a third wing for the Great Argus so it's very important to really examine it from base to tip.

    Note the surface area of the primary wing feathers and alula are nearly as large of the entire wing of an Indian peahen and the peahen is a good 35% heavier than the Great Argus.

    Here's a better photograph of the alula which gives an indication of its proportion in direct relation to the wing. You may also notice that the mid wing of the Great Argus is unusual for the second tier secondaries, which are structurally normal, though quite narrow. These bridge the greatly elongated and pliant secondaries with the primaries.

    This Great Argus has worn the tips of its primaries down on the wet cement of the exhibit. Normally, without this abrasion, the tips of its primary feathers are not rounded but rather squared.

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  6. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Malaysian Great Argus plate- Bornean Great Argus is a distinct species. There is a plate of that species at the top of the page.

    Subadult- note wing moult in process- primaries particularly interesting RE physics of flight between overstory and forest floor.



    Lots to discuss regarding Great Argus. Will return to this shortly
  7. adriano

    adriano Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2009
  8. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    what a beautifully amazing bird! [​IMG]
  9. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  10. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Primary Forest has many layers. Myriads of species inhabit just one layer, never venturing from that elevation their entire lives.
    This guide helps us understand basic parameters of the deep forest.

    To gain a peek into the life history of the Great Argus, we need to gain a concept of the terrain in which it lives.
    The diagram above illustrates a deep forest on a flat plane. The Great Argus inhabits hill forest, often quite steep hill forest and has a preference for the drier more exposed and southern facing slopes of this ecosystem. It spends upwards of 80% of its year in the emergent layer, moving back and forth to the canopy, never coming to the forest floor during the wet season or during periods of high ambient humidity or rain. It subsists largely on amphibians, fungi and ants that it forages for in the crowns of emergent trees and within the canopy.
    After the season of torrential downpour has subsided, the Great Argus moves from emergent layer to forest floor every day, spending upwards of 20% of it's day on the ground. The forest floor it inhabits is rarely on a flat plane. The Great Argus is active on the forest floor only during twilight hours.


    When you or I were to go for a casual stroll along the forest floor we might see it in its full daylight splendor. With the sun above our heads, even where the canopy is dense, we could generally make out topographical features and make our way without much incident. Not so when we go to study the Great Argus during twilight when crepuscular rays transform this realm into that of a dramatic play of shadow and light.

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