Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Noisy pitta

Pitta versicolor

Photo by H. Glover (CQC Landcare Network)

Common name:
noisy pitta (en); pita-ruídosa(pt); brève versicolore (fr); pita bulliciosa (es); lärmpitta (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pittidae

This species breeds along the eastern coast of Australia, from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales. The more northern populations migrate north to winter along the coast of southern New Guinea.

These birds are 17-21 cm long and weigh 70-130 g.

The noisy pitta is mostly found in rainforests, but also use dry woodlands and scrublands, mangroves and even urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

They feed on insects and other invertebrates, including caterpillars, worms, centipedes, spiders and snails, even the giant panda snail Hedleyella falconeri, which it cracks open using a rock or another hard surface as anvil. They also take some fruits.


Noisy pittas breed in October-February. They nest on the ground, in a domed structure built by both sexes using sticks and dry leaves woven together with grasses. The nest is lined with moss and lichens, and placed in a concealed location, often among the buttresses of a tree. The female lays 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no information regarding the length of the fledgling period.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be rare in New South Wales and locally moderately common in Queensland. The population is suspected to be in decline as a result of habitat degradation caused by agricultural expansion, loss of lowland rainforests and predation by introduced cats.

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