Papuan Pitta

To: Phil Gregory <>
Subject: Papuan Pitta
From: Charles via Birding-Aus <>
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:52:57 +0000
And an excellent extract. Thanks Phil.....

Charles Hunter
+61 402 907 577

> On 21 Apr 2017, at 3:12 PM, Phil Gregory <> wrote:
> An extract from my forthcoming New Guinea Field Guide
> Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii
> Uncommon resident (NG)
> L 17 cm. Six subspecies in region in 3 groups: Papuan Pitta mack- lotii 
> bright orange-rufous nape, no pale blue on head, variable black breast band 
> (W and S NG including W Papuan Is, Yapen and Aru Is); digglesi presumed 
> winter migrant from Cape York, in NE Australia (S NG); oblita darker crown 
> and hindneck (SE NG); loriae (extreme SE PNG); Habenicht’s Pitta: habenichti 
> brighter on nape (N NG east
> to Astrolabe Bay); D’Entrecasteaux Pitta: finschii blue upperparts and 
> breastband (D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago). Inhabits lowland
> and hill forest and secondary regrowth throughout mainland except for 
> Trans-Fly savannas, from sea-level to 1200 m, most frequent in lowlands and 
> hills. Some local wandering in dry season or drought. Shy and unobtrusive 
> when foraging on ground; more confiding when calling from high perch. ID 
> Striking multicoloured pitta; sexes similar, F slightly duller. Ad has 
> shining sky-blue upper breast, variable
> black breastband, and orange-red lower breast to undertail-coverts; brownish 
> head and throat with orange-rufous cap and hindneck, shining green mantle and 
> shining dark blue wing-coverts. In flight, shows small white central spot on 
> the dark brown primaries and blue rump and uppertail. Iris dark brown to 
> red-brown, bill olive to dark bluish-grey, legs and feet dark brown to 
> pinkish-slaty. Imm buffy brown with paler underparts, creamy lower throat, 
> dull blue on rump and tail, orange-red on bill; soon shows some green, blue 
> and red. Voc Territorial call of macklotii in mainland NG a low, tentative, 
> tremulous double whistle, the first note ascending, then a descend- ing 
> second, “croooo, croooo”, taking 2–3 seconds, and repeated at 8–30-second 
> intervals, sometimes for long periods; occasionally gives third or fourth 
> note similar to the second, or just a single note. Alarm call a strident 
> “ke-ah”. Calls, especially in early morning, from branches in subcanopy and 
> sometimes from ground or logs; more often heard than seen. Does not call at 
> night. SS Adult distinctive. Juv differs from juv Eastern Hooded Pitta in 
> buffy-brown head, patterned throat, paler plumage, and soon develops blue on 
> upperparts. TN Formerly placed in the genus Pitta. Form digglesi often 
> synonymized with macklotii. Formerly considered conspecific with Philippine 
> Pitta (E. erythrogaster). In recent molecular study, the populations herein 
> comprising present species were divided into three distinct species: 
> macklotii, with races digglesi and loriae (with possible races aruen- sis and 
> kuehni included in nominate macklotii, and oblita in loriae); habenichti; and 
> finschii. Arrangement here follows morphological analysis for HBW–BL 
> Checklist that supports distinctiveness of present species, and resurrects 
> race oblita; it finds habenichti weakly and finschii fairly strongly distinct 
> (latter most closely allied to loriae). Race digglesi (yorkii is a synonym) 
> appears weakly marked and its validity needs further study. AN Blue-breasted 
> Pitta. 
> Phil Gregory
>  <>
> ornithological writer/tour leader/tour facilitator
> Field Guides / Sicklebill Safaris / Cassowary House / Cassowary Tours
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