The Malaysian fauna – the Pheasant

In the “Malaysian fauna” diorama, animals that are typical for the Indonesian archipelago and south-east Asia such as: the Indian tapir, the orangutan, the Argus pheasant, the Indian python, the gibbon species, flying lemur, the black panther (a melanic form of the leopard, encountered mainly in Malaysia and Indonesia).

The Indian elephant is freely exhibited in this hall, a well-known species, spread both in India and also in Indochina and the Indian – Malaysian archipelago. Among the wet exhibits one may notice a species of “flying” lizard (that soars through the extension of a skinny membrane between the elongated and mobile ribs) and “flying” frogs (that soar by means of their well developed membrane between their long fingers) a species of large size venomous myriapod etc..

Fazanul Argus (Great Argus):
Argusianus argus (Linnaeus, 1766) female

Spread:
Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

Safeguarding statute:
Considered to be near threatened (NT). Hunting and loss of its habitat (primary rainforests) are the main dangers that threaten this species with its disappearance.

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Biology

This is a hidden bird which is difficult to be observed and, as such, very few things are known as regards its life. Very quiet and timid, this pheasant quickly moves through the thick bushes. Its feeding consists of insects, seeds, berries and when resting it stays perched on trees.

The pheasant, rather lonely, mainly lives on the ground and its plumage is not a brilliant one. Greyish and brown colours predominate.

The male parade is extremely impressive. The male has the secondary remiges elongated, widened and marked in the central part with round eye-formed spots. The large number of the „eyes” make one think of Argus, a mythology character, that had 1000 eyes, where from the name of this species comes, Argusianus argus. Differing from the other pheasants, its plumage is not brilliant, the prevailing colours being greyish and brown. The female lays 2 eggs in a grass – lined nest, built in trees. The reproduction period extends from March to July. The period of incubation – in captivity – extends from 24 to 25 days.

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