Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Indian pitta

Pitta brachyura

Photo by Nidhin Poothully (Wikipedia)

Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

Range:
This species breeds in the foothills of the Himalayas, in northern India, Pakistan and Nepal. They winter in southern India and Sri Lanka.

Size:
The Indian pitta is medium-sized passerine, 15-19 cm long. They weigh 47-66 g.

Habitat:
They breed in the under-story of evergreen and deciduous forests, often near ravines with dense brush or bamboo. During migration and winter they use forested areas, including small fragments and wooded gardens.

Diet:

They forage for invertebrates in the leaf-litter of the forest floor. Food items include ants, termites, insect larvae, slugs, snails, millipedes, and earthworms. They can also eat fruits and have been noted to take kitchen food scraps from the ground.

Breeding:
Indian pittas breed during the monsoon season, in June-August. The nest is a globular structure with a circular opening on one side, built on the ground or on low branches with dry leaves and grasses. The clutch consists of 4-5 glossy white eggs with brown or purple spots and speckles. Both parents share the task of incubation for 14-16 days. The altricial chicks are fed and brooded by both parents for 11-17 days until fledging. They continue to be fed by the adults for a few weeks after fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The global population of this species as not been quantified, but the species is described as not uncommon. They are believed to be declining as a result of ongoing forest clearance to make way for agriculture and urban development. During migration, they are also caught in large numbers human consumption. Despite this, the species is not considered threatened at present.

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