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Do you love learning about birds with vivid colors? A glimpse at the Indian pita's flamboyant plumage might just take your breath away! However, finding this bird might not be as easy as it sounds, since the Pitta brachyura is shy by nature and often hides in areas with dense undergrowth. Louis Vieillot classified the Indian pitta as a member of the genus Pitta in 1816. The bird's name 'pitta' originated in southern India, and is derived from the Telugu language meaning 'tiny bird'. This bird also goes by the name 'aaru mani kuruvi' in Tamil which translates to 'six o'clock bird' as this bird has the habit of calling at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Indian pitta is a passerine bird species in the Pittidae family.
The Indian pitta belongs to the class Aves in the Animalia kingdom.
An exact population count of the Indian pitta is currently unknown. The resident occurrence of this bird covers a range of 849424.7 sq mi (2,200,000 sq km).
As the name suggests, this bird is native to central India. However, the distribution of the Pitta brachyura is observed throughout South Asia. This shy bird mainly lives in regions with dense undergrowth and in the thick forests of regions including Nepal and Sri Lanka. This species breeds from October to March in north India but migration to southern parts of India in winter is a key feature of this bird's life.
The typical Indian pitta bird habitat covers dense forests and wooded regions. In some cases, this resident species might be observed in artificial settings such as local parkland and areas with thick plantations. When they breed, they are found in cold places in the north, primarily in the Himalayan foothills, but they also travel south as, despite the many great Indian pitta adaptations, they cannot tolerate harsh winter weather.
The Pitta brachyura is one of those birds that find harmony in solitude. This bird takes the 'no trespassing' policy quite seriously, to the point of becoming aggressive when fellow mates approach their territory! Apart from during the breeding season, the only time these birds may be seen associating with one another is during migration. Rare accounts of them being found in pairs while foraging have been reported.
The lifespan of the six o'clock bird is yet to be discovered. The average duration between two subsequent generations in the Indian pitta's bloodline is said to be four and a half years.
During the breeding season (from October to March in north India) the Pitta brachyura breeds by laying eggs, before which they are seen foraging and preparing for the arrival of their new family members. Each clutch contains four to eight eggs. The white eggs have a glossy sheen with burgundy and violet splotches. The eggs hatch after 13-17 days of incubation. Young pitta birds fledge in approximately two weeks, during which time they are constantly fed by their parents. With the intent of having another clutch, adult birds might shoo away their nestlings once they are ready for flight and sometimes even before that.
The conservation status of the P brachyura species is Least Concern as its range of distribution is broad and the species is considered to be common across this range.
Known for its shimmering blue wings, the Indian pitta is a multicolored bird that has nine different colors on its body. Therefore it can sometimes be referred to as the nine-colored bird. It has blue, green, and yellow in large percentiles just like other birds of its genus. The Indian pitta has strong legs, a short tail, and a stout bill. These birds have a white throat and white neck plumage. Since its blue tail is virtually non-existent, this species is known as the stubby-tailed bird. It also features a burnt orange beak with a black tip. The upper parts and wing plumage of this bird are a lovely combination of blue and green, and the lower belly is crimson red in color. When their wings are spread, a white patch is seen.
We've been unable to source an image of an Indian pitta and have used an image of an Indian roller instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of an Indian pitta, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]
From the tiny hops in their leaf litter to their lovely brown eyes, everything about this stubby-tailed bird species is adorable. This species is said to be prettiest when in flight with its wings wide apart.
This is one of those birds whose buzz reaches your ears before you catch sight of it. The bird communicates by chirping.
The Indian pitta is a medium-sized bird measuring 6.6-7 in (17-19 cm). The Pitta barchyura is the same size as fairy pitta birds.
The speed at which these birds fly is unknown. Normally, their flying is sluggish and weak. Conversely, the bird is capable of migrating to larger distances at a stretch, but this can frequently cause it to collapse.
The Indian pitta weighs between 1.6-2.3 oz. (47-66 gm).
Both male and female birds are simply referred to as Indian pitta birds.
A young Indian pitta is called a chick. They are also known as nestlings or hatchlings.
The Pitta brachyura species is recurrently spotted foraging on the forest floor amidst leaf litter, eating earthworms and other tiny vertebrates. The average Indian pitta diet includes insects, larvae, crickets, ants, and cicadas. Adults also feed on frogs and lizards.
They are extremely secretive birds and they prefer being left alone, so they are not very friendly.
When these birds are kept in captivity, they grow more hostile. This short-tailed bird requires healthy food and tends to dwell in the undergrowth, which is only accessible in the forest. Thus, they do not make good pets. Keeping birds of the Pitta brachyura species as pets is one of the major causes for their decline.
Hatchlings of this species are born blind and prematurely, therefore they are completely reliant on the adults for a long time.
Up to 12% of this short-tail bird's daily activity time is spent calling. The Indian pitta is most vocal during its breeding season. At such times, their call notes might be heard throughout the day.
Old wives' tales in north India and Sri Lanka indicate that the call of Indian pitta birds represents a scream of indignation over the misdeed of peacocks, who allegedly obtained their blue and green colors by snatching the wing feathers of pittas! There is no evidence to back this story up though.
The Pittidae family to which this bird belongs has 23 species.
These birds cover a wide range and are even spotted in cities sometimes. The IUCN has categorized them as a species of Least Concern. Hence, they are not rare.
The Indian pitta call is a sharp two-note whistle that sounds like 'wheet-tiu,' or occasionally a triple note whistle: 'hh-wit-wiyu.' It is generally active in the early hours of dawn and dusk. Calls of this pitta are quite loud. However, if the bird decides to lay low it's tough to even get a hint of its presence.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our blue winged teal facts and ladybird facts.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our free printable Indian pitta coloring pages.
Thank you to Kidadler Jatinder Vijh for providing the image of an Indian Pitta in this article.
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