Saturday, 24 August 2013

Blue-winged pitta

Pitta moluccensis

Photo by Alvin Loon (Nature in Singapore)

Common name:
blue-winged pitta (en); pita-d'asa-azul (pt); brève à ailes blueues (fr); pita aliazul (es); blauflügelpitta (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

This species is found breeding from south-eastern Myanmar and Laos to southern Vietnam and Thailand. They migrate south to winter in Malaysia, Singapore and in Indonesia, in Sumatra, Borneo and Java.

These birds are 18-20,5 cm long and weigh 74-90 g.

The blue-winged pitta is mostly found in both dry and moist tropical forests, but also in mangroves, moist scrublands, plantations and even within urban areas during migration. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.800 m.

They feed on various invertebrates, especially earthworms, centipedes and other arthropods, and snails.

Blue-winged pittas breed in May-August. They are monogamous, solitary nesters, the nest consisting of a large, untidy, spherical structure with a side entrance, made of twigs, roots, grasses, leaves and mosses. The nest is usually placed on the ground, often between the roots of a tree and near water, or sometimes in a low scrub. The female lays 3-6 white or cream eggs with light purple speckles, which are incubated by both parents for 14-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 2 weeks after hatching, but continue to be fed by the parents for several days afterwards.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be fairly common. The blue-winged pitta is fairly tolerant of habitat alteration and survives well in secondary habitats. However, it is commonly caught for the cage bird trade and is hunted locally in Thailand.

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