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Common Name : Indian Pitta     -       Scientific Name : Pitta brachyuran       -       Other Name : Avichchiya (S)
Thimbiri Wila
02/25/2013
Thimbiri Wila
02/25/2013
Thimbiri Wila
02/25/2013
Thimbiri Wila
02/25/2013

This is a migrant to the country and breeds from northern Pakistan in the west to Nepal and Sikkim in the east as well as in the Western Ghats south to Karnataka and the hills of central India. During winter they migrate to all parts of the Indian peninsular and Sri Lanka. The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (IUCN Red List) and it is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

This exquisitely coloured bird migrates to the country from about September and is found throughout the country from the coast to the highest hills until they leave in May. During the season its call can be heard during dawn and dusk even in the suburbs of Colombo. It is a skulking bird that would never bee seen out in the open and spends most of the daytime hours hopping in the undergrowth searching for worms, insects, small snails and even feeds on small snakes.

In Wilpattu this bird is quite common during the 8 to 9 months it spends in the country and can be seen throughout the park. Its characteristic call is one of the most common birdcalls that can be heard in the mornings and evenings at all the park bungalows. As they arrive in the park each bird would establish a territory and many squabbles could be observed with one chasing the other until the disputes are settled. They would guard their patch of the forest floor and would not tolerate their own species as well as other species of its own size within the claimed area. In February 2013, much to my annoyance, a more aggressive Indian Pitta chased off an Orange-headed Ground Thrush that I was photographing, between Panikkar Villu and Aalam Villu. Even though they spend much of the time on the ground, when they are disturbed they would instantly fly up on to a branch. On the 25th of February 2013 I was parked close to Thimbiri Wila and an Indian Pitta, disturbed by a heard of Wild Boar that came to water, flew up on to an exposed branch few feet from where I was parked permitting me to take some good photos before it flew off again.

If you are occupying a park bungalow these birds can often be spotted and photographed at the forest edge. Carefully examining the forest floor, while driving slowly through forested areas, for any movement is the best way to locate and photograph this bird at Wilpattu. When you spot the bird turn off the engine of your vehicle and let it relax. More often than not when spotted it would periodically stop turning the dried leafs on the ground, hop on to an elevated spot and raise its head to look in your direction or where you may be parked. That’s the moment to click.