Blue-winged pitta

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Blue-winged pitta
Pitta moluccensis - Kaeng Krachan.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pittidae
Genus: Pitta
Species: P. moluccensis
Binomial name
Pitta moluccensis
(Müller, 1776)

The blue-winged pitta (Pitta moluccensis) is a passerine bird in the family Pittidae native to Australia and Southeast Asia. It forms a superspecies with three other pittas and has no subspecies.


The German naturalist Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller first described the blue-winged pitta in 1776.[1] It forms a superspecies with the Indian pitta (P. brachyura), fairy pitta (P. nympha) and mangrove pitta (P. megarhyncha). Alternate common names include: lesser blue-winged pitta, the little blue-winged pitta, the Moluccan pitta, the Brève à ailes bleues (in French), the Kleine Blauflügelpitta (in German), and the Pita Aliazul (in Spanish).[2]


Wings spread to get warmed by the sun

Measuring 180 to 205 mm (7.1–8.1 in) in length, the blue-winged pitta has a black head with a buff-coloured supercilium, white chin and buff underparts. The shoulders and mantle are greenish, the wings are bright blue, and the vent is reddish.[3] The bill is black, eyes are brown and the legs pale pink.[4] Juveniles have similar patterned plumage but are duller. It resembles the mangrove pitta but can be distinguished by its shorter bill. The loud call has been transcribed as taew-laew taew-laew[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is regularly found in Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is vagrant in Australia, Christmas Island, Taiwan and Hong Kong.[1] Its natural habitat is subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests.[5]

It is found in a variety of habitats to an altitude of 800 m (2500 ft), including broadleaved forests, parks and gardens, and mangroves,[3] though avoids dense rainforest.[6]

The range is much of southeast Asia and Indochina, from central Myanmar east through Thailand and into peninsular Malaysia.[7] It is a winter visitor to Borneo and Sumatra, and a vagrant to the Philippines and Java.[8] It is a rare vagrant to the northwestern coast of Australia.[4]


The blue-winged pitta mostly feeds on worms and insects, hunting them on the ground or from a low branch or perch,[6][9] but they also eat hard-shelled snails.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Pitta moluccensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)". Internet Bird Collection. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Robson, Craig (2005). New Holland field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. Kenthurst, New South Wales: New Holland Publishers. p. 76. ISBN 1-84330-746-4. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Slater, Peter (1978) [1974]. A field guide to Australian birds: passerines. Adelaide: Rigby. p. 86. ISBN 0-85179-813-6. 
  5. ^ "Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis". BirdLife International. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Strange, Morten (2000). Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Periplus. p. 220. ISBN 962-593-403-0. 
  7. ^ Strange, Morten (2003). Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia including the Philippines & Borneo. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-691-11494-3. 
  8. ^ Strange, Morten (2003). Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 221. ISBN 0-691-11495-1. 
  9. ^ Nelson Khor Blue Winged Pitta Success Nesting
  10. ^ Blue-winged Pitta catching a snail, Bird Ecology Study Group, 27 December 2008
  11. ^ DSC_8612 Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis). Flickr photo
  12. ^ DSC_8671Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis). Flickr photo