Noisy pitta

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Noisy pitta
Noisy Pitta inskip may06.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pittidae
Genus: Pitta
Species: P. versicolor
Binomial name
Pitta versicolor
Swainson, 1825

The noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor) is a species of bird in the family Pittidae. It is also known as the buff-breasted pitta, the lesser pitta, and the blue-winged pitta (Pitta moluccensis is another species known as the blue-winged pitta, which sometimes leads to confusion in applying their common names). The noisy pitta occurs in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It eats earthworms, insects and snails. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.[2]

Taxonomy[edit]

Some authorities believe that Pitta versicolor is conspecific with Pitta elegans or with Pitta iris but it is usually regarded as forming a superspecies with these two species and with Pitta anerythra. There are two subspecies with a demarcation line around Cairns. Pitta versicolor simillima Gould, 1868 occurs in northern Queensland and the islands of the Torres Strait. The members of this subspecies migrate to the southern part of Papua New Guinea. Pitta versicolor versicolor Swainson, 1825 is found in the rest of Queensland and southward to the Hunter River in New South Wales.[2]

Description[edit]

The noisy pitta is a colourful bird. It has a black head and nape of neck with a chestnut crown. The wings are green with a turquoise front edge and the back is also green. The throat, breast and belly are lemon yellow. The tail is black and the under-tail coverts are orange-red.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Pitta feeding "anvil" with broken land snail shells

The noisy pitta is found in forest habitats along the east coast of Australia. Its range extends from the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula southwards to the New South Wales/Victoria border. It occurs mainly in rainforest but is also sometimes found in drier woodland and scrub.[3] Outside of Australia they may be found in southern New Guinea.

Behaviour[edit]

The noisy pitta is a bird of the forest floor where it rummages through the leaf litter for the insects, woodlice, snails and other invertebrates on which it feeds. It bobs its head up and down and flicks its tail from side to side while it forages. Its diet includes some fruit and it cracks open the shells of molluscs such as the giant panda snail (Hedleyella falconeri) on an anvil, a stone or other hard surface habitually used for this purpose.[3] It nests in a concealed location on the ground, laying about four eggs in early summer. It is a shy bird and its distinctive call is heard more often than the bird is seen. The call is usually repeated twice and consists of a sequence of three ascending notes, sometimes rendered as "walk-to-work".[3][4]

Status[edit]

The noisy pitta has a wide range and is believed to be fairly common in suitable habitats in Queensland. It is listed as being of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International in the Red List of Threatened Species. It may be diminishing slightly in number because of habitat destruction but probably not at a rate high enough to justify raising its status to "Near Threatened".[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Pitta versicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor)". The Internet Bird Collection. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d Nielsen, Lloyd (1991). "Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor)". Birds of Lamington National Park. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor)". OzAnimals.com. Retrieved 2012-12-13.