Argus (bird)

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An argus illustration from "The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex" by Charles Darwin
An argus illustration from The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Tribe: Pavonini

An argus, or argus pheasant, is a member of a clade in the tribe Pavonini of the family Phasianidae, containing two species of bird that are closely related to peafowl.


It has hundreds or thousands of tiny white spots on its plumage pattern, and thus its naming might have been in reference to the mythical hundred-eyed giant, Argus Panoptes.[1]


Two genera of birds are considered arguses: Rheinardia and Argusianus. Within these genera there are a total of three recognized species. Argusianus has also been credited with a mysterious second species that is sometimes thought to have gone extinct, but this is most likely based on a simple genetic aberration in the established species. Both genera are thought to be sister taxa to one another, and are otherwise most closely related to the peafowl (genera Pavo and Afropavo), and slightly more distantly to the genus Tropicoperdix.[2][3]

Genus and distribution[edit]


  1. ^ "Great Argus". Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  2. ^ "Galliformes". bird-phylogeny (in German). Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  3. ^ "Taxonomic Updates – IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2021-08-01.