Gurney's pitta

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Gurney's pitta
Gurney's Pitta (male) - Pitta gurneyi (3466943227).jpg
Male in Khao Nor Chu Chi, Krabi, Thailand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pittidae
Genus: Hydrornis
Species: H. gurneyi
Binomial name
Hydrornis gurneyi
Hume, 1875[1]
  • Pitta gurneyi

Gurney's pitta (Hydrornis gurneyi) is a medium-sized passerine bird. It breeds in the Malay Peninsula, with populations in Thailand and, especially, Burma. The common name and Latin binomial commemorate the British banker and amateur ornithologist John Henry Gurney (1819-1890).[2] Its diet consists of slugs, insects, and earthworms.


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[edit]

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[3]

The pitta was voted the "most wanted bird in Thailand" by bird watchers visiting that country.[4]

Female in Khao Nor Chu Chi, Krabi, Thailand



  1. ^ Hume, A.O. (1875). "Novelties: Pitta gurneyi". Stray Feathers. 3 (4): 296–298. 
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 153. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ 10 Most Wanted Birds in Thailand - Number 1: Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi. Retrieved 2008-MAY-23.


External links[edit]