|Male in Khao Nor Chu Chi, Krabi, Thailand|
Gurney's pitta (Hydrornis gurneyi) (Thai: นกแต้วแร้วท้องดำ) is a medium-sized passerine bird. It breeds in the Malay Peninsula, with populations mainly in Myanmar. The common name and Latin binomial commemorate the British banker and amateur ornithologist John Henry Gurney (1819-1890). Its diet consists of slugs, insects, and earthworms.
Gurney's pitta was described by the amateur ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume in 1875 and given the binomial name Pitta gurneyi. The species was moved to the resurrected genus Hydrornis based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study published in 2006. The genus Hydrornis had been introduced by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1843. The specific epithet was chosen to honour the amateur ornithologist John Henry Gurney (1819-1890).
The male has a blue crown and black-and-yellow underparts; the rest of the head is black, and it has warm brown upperparts. The female has a brown crown and buffy-whitish underparts.
Status and conservation
Gurney's pitta is endangered. It was initially thought to be extinct for some time after 1952, but was rediscovered in 1986. Its rarity has been caused by the clearance of natural forest in southern Burma and peninsular Thailand.
Its population was estimated at a mere nine pairs in 1997, then believed one of the rarest bird species on earth. A search for it in Burma in 2003 was successful and discovered that the species persisted at four sites with a maximum of 10-12 pairs at one location. This granted the species a reassessment from the IUCN, going from critically endangered to endangered. Later on, further research completed in Burma by 2009 provides strong evidence that its global population is much greater than previously estimated, owing to the discovery of several new territories in this country
- BirdLife International (2019). "Hydrornis gurneyi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)old-form url
- Hume, A.O. (1875). "Novelties: Pitta gurneyi". Stray Feathers. 3 (4): 296–298.
- Irestedt, M.; Ohlson, J.I.; Zuccon, D.; Källersjö, M.; Ericson, P.G.P. (2006). "Nuclear DNA from old collections of avian study skins reveals the evolutionary history of the Old World suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes)" (PDF). Zoologica Scripta. 35: 567–580. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00249.x.
- Blyth, Edward. "Mr Blyth's report for December meeting, 1842, with Addenda subsequently appended". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 12 (143): 925-1010 .
- Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- Eames, Jonathan C.; Hla, Htin; Leimgruber, Peter; Kelly, Daniel S.; Aung, Sein Myo; Moses, Saw; Tin, U. Saw Nyunt; Tinun, Pinyo; Aung, Sein Myo; Zaw, Sa Myo; Buchanan, Graeme M. (2005). "Priority contribution. The rediscovery of Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi in Myanmar and an estimate of its population size based on remaining forest cover". Bird Conservation International. 15 (1): 3–26. doi:10.1017/S095927090500002X. ISSN 1474-0001.
- Donald, Paul F.; Aratrakorn, Sirirak; Htun, Thura Win; Eames, Jonathan C.; Hla, Htin; Thunhikorn, Somying; Sribua-Rod, Kriangsak; Tinun, Pinyo; Aung, Sein Myo; Zaw, Sa Myo; Buchanan, Graeme M. (2009). "Population, distribution, habitat use and breeding of Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi in Myanmar and Thailand". Bird Conservation International. 19 (4): 353–366. doi:10.1017/S0959270909008612. ISSN 1474-0001.
- thaibirding.com: 10 Most Wanted Birds in Thailand - Number 1: Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi. Retrieved 2008-MAY-23.
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