The Indian pitta (Pitta brachyura) is a passerine bird native to the Indian subcontinent. It inhabits scrub jungle, deciduous and dense evergreen forest. Breeding in the forests of the Himalayas, hills of central and western India, they migrate to other parts of the peninsula in winter. Although very colourful, they are usually shy and hidden in the undergrowth where they hop and pick insects on the forest floor. They have a distinctive two note whistling call which may be heard at dawn and dusk. It is considered Least Concern by IUCN as its range is very large.
The Indian pitta is a small stubby-tailed bird that is mostly seen on the floor of forests or under dense undergrowth, foraging on insects in leaf litter. It has long, strong legs, a very short tail and stout bill, with a buff coloured crown stripe, black coronal stripes, a thick black eye stripe and white throat and neck. The upperparts are green, with a blue tail, the underparts buff, with bright red on the lower belly and vent. The bird hops on the ground to forage and has been known to get trapped in ground traps meant for small mammals. It has been suggested that the width of the coronal stripe may differ in the sexes.
It is more often heard than seen and has a distinctive loud two-note whistle wheeet-tieu or wieet-pyou or sometimes, a triple note hh-wit-wiyu. They have a habit of calling once or twice, often with neighbouring individuals joining in, at dawn or dusk leading to their common name of "Six-O-Clock" bird in Tamil. When calling the head is thrown back and the bill is pointed upwards.
Pittas are among the few Old World suboscine birds. The Indian pitta is the basal member of a distinct clade that includes many of the Oriental species. It forms a superspecies with the fairy pitta (P. nympha), mangrove pitta (P. megarhyncha) and blue-winged pitta (P. moluccensis).[Wikipedia].[Photo© – Raju Karia].
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