Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Fairy pitta

Pitta nympha

(Photo from Best Bird Photos)

Common name:
fairy pitta (en); pita-ninfa (pt); brève migratice (fr); pita ninfa (es); nymphenpitta (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

This Asian species breeds in Japan, South Korea, south-eastern China and Taiwan and migrates south to winter in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

Faity pittas are 16-19,5 cm long and weigh 90 g.

These birds are mostly found breeding in evergreen broad-leaved forests, and sometimes in mixed conifer and broad-leaved forests. They may also be found in plantations, scrublands and along rivers and streams. Outside the breeding season they tend to prefer tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, but are also found in dry forests and along rivers and streams.

Faity pittas forage among the leaf litter on the forest floor, taking beetles and ants, caterpillars, earthworms, centipedes and snails. They are also known to occasionally eat small crabs and even small frogs, snakes and lizards.

These birds are monogamous and territorial, breeding in May-July. They build an oven-shaped nest, either on the ground in the tree up to 5 m above the ground, using leaves and moss and lining the interior with pine needles. There the female lays 3-7 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-14 days after hatching.

IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the population is currently estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals. A number of pressures within the species range are driving habitat loss and conversion. As a result the species is suspected to be declining rapidly. The key threat is the extensive lowland deforestation in its breeding range, particularly in China where most forest have been cleared or modified through conversion to agricultural land and logging for timber. Uncontrolled fires have further reduced remaining forest cover. Human disturbance, hunting and trapping for the cage-bird trade are other significant threats.

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