Gurney's Pitta Update - Hurry if you want to see one.

To: Richard King <>
Subject: Gurney's Pitta Update - Hurry if you want to see one.
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2012 15:59:17 +1000
Hi Richard,

Sad news indeed about Gurney's Pitta. Very much a case of a species being loved 
to death. I am glad I made my trip to KNCC in 2007. Back then, I had no problem 
seeing a Gurney's after sitting for an hour and a half on U trail. The 
situation seems to have gone downhill considerably since then. With the amount 
of clearing of lowland forest, over the border in Burma, I do not see this 
beautiful species surviving till the middle of this century.

As far as birding safety along the Thai-Malaysian border, the insurgency areas 
are in Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and the SE portion of Songkhla provinces which 
are risky, the provinces on the western side of the peninsula are pretty safe 
(as safe as one can be in isolated areas of SE Asia- or on the roads). I 
believe that the insurgents have not hit any ferangs, as yet, but then hand 
grenades tend to be non-discrimatory. Having said all that, I met a couple of 
young American birders last year in Cambodia, who had just spent a week birding 
in the Budo-Su-Ngai Padi NP, in Narathiwat Prov., with no problems, so it is a 
matter of how lucky you feel. 


Carl Clifford

Sent from my iPad

On 04/06/2012, at 13:08, "Richard King" <> wrote:

> Hi All,
> I have just returned from birding for 13 days in southern Thailand, with
> some hard birding, due to it seems climate change according to the guides,
> rain cycles totally out of sync for last year and this year affecting many
> rainforest birds. 250 bird species were seen, including 6 pitta species, so
> I'm happy.
> The info about Gurney's Pitta at Khao Nor Chi Chi is pretty bad, so if you
> want to see one you better hurry (maybe ~ 6 pittas left?). Climate change
> and disturbance in the park are affecting the pitta in a bad way,
> photographers are the main culprits with numerous photographers and
> videographers setting up hides and playing Gurney's Pitta calls all day
> long. It seems they only care about getting the perfect photo, not the
> bird's welfare! Most (not all) of the recent photos and Youtube videos have
> been obtained this way. We saw one of these guys in a hide at another park
> trying to get Blue Pitta photos, playing the call for hours!
> We spent two days looking for the pittas with local bird guide Yotin,
> finally got great views of a male and female Gurney's for about 2 minutes,
> male and female in the same view. Yotin is the pitta expert, but even he had
> trouble finding any Gurney's in the last 6 months, a number of international
> birding companies missed out on seeing them! I would recommend hiring Yotin,
> as he has assistants out with radios to find the pittas, otherwise you could
> spend a whole week walking the overgrown and poorly signposted trails and
> not see one. This was a common statement in the bird log book at the Morakot
> Resort!
> The situation with the 2 Gurney's Pittas we saw is not very good, as it
> seems the male has paired with his daughter! The 'official pitta rescue
> project' also hasn't helped, by 'illegally' taking wild Gurney's for
> breeding, which resulted in the pittas not breeding but dying, a lot of it
> due to lack of experience of the 'researchers'. Maybe they should have tried
> breeding some more common pitta species first! The Gurney's Pitta will
> probably disappear from Thailand shortly and the population found in Burma
> are in hard to get to locations, so it's best to hurry if you want to see
> one.
> As for the birding situation in the far south near the Malaysian border,
> DON'T GO. Extremists are killing people on a daily basis, with guys riding
> motorbikes along forest tracks with machine guns and killing whoever they
> find! Beware, there is at least one southern Thailand birding company that
> doesn't even mention the trouble down there, some just say that no tourist
> has been hurt! Possibly because no tourist go there and the rebels haven't
> been able to find one to gun down or keep as a hostage?
> Regards,
> Richard King
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