LONDON, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Two chicks from a rare Asian breed of birds famed for their elaborate love dance have become the first ever to be bred at Chester Zoo in northern England.
The two great argus pheasant chicks, an iconic species from the rainforests of southeast Asia, made their debut at the zoo on Friday, just two days after being born.
The birds, threatened in the wild by hunting and habitat loss, are famed because males produce an elaborate mating dance to attract female admirers.
The two newly-hatched great argus pheasant chicks arrived on Wednesday at the zoo after a 24-day incubation.
Bird staff at the zoo have hailed the arrival of the young pair, with the number of great argus pheasant in steep decline across much of its native range.
Andrew Owen, curator of birds at Chester Zoo, said: "The great argus pheasant is under real pressure in parts of southeast Asia. Like so many bird species in that part of the world, they are the victim of rapid deforestation and illegal trapping.
"Great argus males in particular are amongst the most unusual and distinctive of all birds, with their astonishingly long wing and tail feathers adorned with thousands of eye-spots. It is their beauty which is, in part, what makes them so prized by hunters.
"To have two chicks hatch here for the very first time in the zoo's long history is a great achievement -- they're certainly important young birds."
As part of its mating ritual, the male constructs a ring on the ground out of sticks and twigs, then calls to entice a female to enter into the circle. The male then performs a mating dance, culminating in him spreading his wings wide to show off a complex pattern of of eye-spots in his plumage.
It is the "eye-spots" that give the argus pheasant its name, Argus Panoptes (or Argos) being a many-eyed giant in Greek mythology.