Derby - Fairy Pitta

To: <>
Subject: Derby - Fairy Pitta
From: "Wedderburn Birding" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 18:59:47 +1100
Hi birders, 

I was birding in Broome with George Swann on Friday 14th December, when the
news came through that a Blue-winged Pitta had been seen in Derby.

We travelled through to Derby early Saturday morning, joining up with Nathan
on the way and arrived in Derby at 6:30 am. We then had very good views of
the bird over the next four to five hours and managed to get some good
photos. See for some of
the better photos. 

We were joined by a number of local birders and there was a lot of debate
about whether it was a Blue-winged or Fairy Pitta. It was agreed after
consulting Craig Robson's Birds of SE Asia, plus photos from the Oriental
Bird Club, that it was in fact a Fairy Pitta.

The points in favour of the Fairy Pitta were:

1. The distinctive crown markings - narrow dark black stripe on top with
Rufous on either side and then the pale creamy supercillium.
2. The pale cream supercillium runs through the top of the eye.
3. The blue markings on the wing are less than for the Blue-winged Pitta.
4. The tail has a very thin blue marking on the end of the feather tips,
whereas the Blue-winged has an extensive blue band. 
5. In flight the extent of the white patches in the wing were a lot less
than that for the Blue-winged Pitta - see poor photo of bird with wings
6. At rest there was no evidence of white on the primary wing feathers.
7. The chest is a lot lighter in colour compared with photos of the
Blue-winged which shows it as quite buff.  
8. Also considered the Mangrove Pitta but this bird lacks the distinctive

It's a great find and well done on John's son who first saw the bird and
reported on it. Hopefully the bird stays in the area for the next week or


Bruce Wedderburn


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