Currious Pitta Behaviour

To: <>
Subject: Currious Pitta Behaviour
From: "Roger McNeill" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:50:39 +1000
Last month I posted about an overwintering Noisy Pitta in a rainforest gully
down below my house.  On Sunday, Marion Roper brought some visiting birders
over to see if they could find White-eared Monarch (good views) and I asked
if they wanted to give the Pitta a go.  We pushed our way through the
lantana into the gully and after only two short cuts of playback, had the
pitta sitting on a branch just in front of us.  High fives all around we
headed back up to my place.

About an hour later, on dusk, I heard a pitta call a few hundred meters off
my back deck.curious, as there is no proper habitat from where it called and
I could not believe there would be two over wintering birds out here.  Then
a minute or so later I heard a pitta call again.a few hundred meters further
to my right.then a few minutes later.again a few hundred meters away this
time almost behind me.  And finally, again from closer to the gully making a
complete loop of well over a KM from the spot where we had it earlier.

I find this very curious.  I am hypothesizing that the bird from earlier
waited until dusk and then flew out for 'a look see' and to try to find the
interloper or reinforce his winter claim.  Assuming this is correct; I had
never considered that a bird would hold such a territorial memory for that
long.  Even more surprising as it is winter as I would not have expected it
to be very juiced up.  I had always assumed that a bird resumed normal
behavior quite quickly once the threat or rival left...?  

As previously mentioned, I have heard this bird on dusk and after dark from
this area all year, but never "advertising" or "searching" as it last night.
Is this a common pitta behavior?  Is it common for a wintering bird to hold
this level of territorial memory over an hour after a brief encounter?  Love
to hear any thoughts or observations of similar.


Roger McNeill 

Brisbane - Samford Valley, SEQ


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