My Pittas of Thailand

Updated: Mar 4


Thailand has 14 recorded species of Pittas, many of which are resident, a couple of breeding winter visitors and six very rare or possibly extinct species. Over the last few years I have managed to observe and photograph eight of these wonderful birds.


Blue-winged Pitta. (Pitta moluccensis)

The Blue-winged Pitta is a rainy season breeding visitor to Thailand, but is probably the easiest to see or hear at the right time of the year. Its habitat is mainly moist woodland, but is also often spotted in city parks and gardens. It feeds mainly on insects and worms. During the breeding season, the Blue-winged Pitta builds a large nest, usually on the ground, made of twigs, roots, grasses, leaves and mosses. The spherical and untidy nest has a side entrance and is often found between tree roots near water. Usually about four or five eggs are laid and incubated by both parent birds, hatching after about sixteen days. My picture was taken here at Kaeng Krachan National Park, probably the best place to observe this bird.

Status; Least Concern


Eared Pitta (Hydrornis phayrei)

The Eared Pitta is a resident bird here, but rarely seen until its breeding season during the rainy season when it can be more frequently heard and tracked down. It is more widely found in the North East of the country, but Kaeng Krachan NP is also a great place to find this secretive bird. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest up to around 1500m. During the breeding season it will make a large spherical nest of twigs and roots on the ground, usually on the side of an embankment.

My picture was taken here at Luung Sin's bird blind just outside Kaeng Krachan NP. Status; Least Concern.


Rusty-naped Pitta (Hydrornis Oatesi)

The Rusty-naped is a very shy and secretive pitta, so can be one of the hardest to find and photograph. They are mostly found in the north and north-west of the country with Mae Wong National Park being a great place to at least hear, but not always see them, at the right time of the year. I have also heard them many times at Chaloem Phrakiat NP in Ratchaburi, but as of yet I have not managed to see them there. My picture was taken here at Mae Wong National Park. Status; Least Concern


Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)

Although the Hooded Pitta is a resident bird in much of the south of the country, it is also a breeding visitor to much of the country during the monsoon season. Their breeding season generally is from May to October, this being a good time to observe them as they become more vocal during this period. Probably the best place to see this stunning bird is at Kaeng Krachan National Park, although this picture was taken here on Koh Man Nai Island in Rayong. Status; Least Concern


Malayan Banded Pitta (Hydrornis irena)

The Malayan Banded Pitta has to be truly one of the most stunning of our Pittas. Unlike most other pittas the Banded has a big plumage variation between male and female, so I have posted a picture of both. The Banded Pitta is predominantly found only in the south of Thailand with Sri Phang Nga National Park probably being the best place to see these shy birds. Their habitat is mainly broadleaved ever-green and secondary forest up to about 600m. Although this pitta is common in some places, it is becoming scarce in others where its forest habitat is degraded by logging and conversion into agricultural land, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status now as being "near threatened" My picture was taken here at Sri Phang Nga National Park.

Status; Near Threatened



Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha)

Distribution of the Mangrove Pitta is mainly confined to the mangroves of the west coast of southern Thailand. Ao Phang Nga National Park is probably the best places to see this bird. It is very similar in appearance to the Blue-winged Pitta, but having a darker brown crown and a much longer and stouter bill for crushing crabs and other crustaceans. Unfortunately this bird is threatened by habitat loss and is now also listed as being "near threatened". My picture was taken here at Ao Phang Nga National Park.

Status; Near Threatened


Blue Pitta (Hydrornis cyaneus)

The Blue Pitta has the largest range of all the pitta species here. Although a fairly common bird, that doesn't make them any easier to see for most of the year. Like other pittas, Blue Pittas are shy, secretive birds and are usually not seen in pairs except when feeding their young as they often like to forage in darker areas of the forest. They are however quite responsive to recordings of their call. Breeding usually takes place between June and October in Thailand. The nest is a large, bulky dome-shaped structure with a side entrance, hidden amongst tangled plant growth or higher up in a 'v' of a tree. Probably the best place to see this stunning bird is at Kaeng Krachan National Park and the surrounding water holes, although this picture was taken here at Chaloem Phrakiat NP in Ratchaburi, Status; Least Concern


Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha)

The Fairy Pitta Fairy Pitta was first recorded in Thailand at Phuttamonton Park near Bangkok only about ten years ago, and since has been observed in other Bangkok parks purely as a passing passage migrant and only staying for a few days for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. These pittas are now found to be a regular, but rare passage migrant being recorded at Koh Man Nai in Rayong on a yearly basis. Due to deforestation of its breeding grounds, Fairy Pittas are listed as "vulnerable". My picture was taken on Koh Man Nai Island in Rayong.

Status; Vulnerable.

If you liked this blog or would like to join me on my birding trips around Thailand please click here to see more, or drop me an email at thaibirdspot66@gmail.com


The Other Pittas of Thailand I have yet to see or photograph.


Giant Pitta (Hydrornis caeruleus)

Blue-naped Pitta (Hydrornis nipalensis)

Garnet Pitta (Erythropitta granatina)

Blue-rumped Pitta (Hydrornis soror)

Bar-bellied Pitta (Hydrornis elliotii)

Gurney's Pitta (Hydrornis gurneyi)


If you liked this blog or would like to join me on my birding trips around Thailand please click here to see more, or drop me an email at thaibirdspot66@gmail.com

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