Pittas of Vietnam – Pittidae

With 9 species of Pittas, occurring over the country, some species really hard to see, two near-endemic forest jewels, the striking Bar-bellied Pitta and the more understated, though equally desirable, Blue-rumped Pitta, will without doubt appear near the top of any birders wish list. Being near-endemic, their ranges spill over borders into several neigh-bouring countries but Vietnam is unquestionably the stronghold of these two beauties of the forest floor. An additional seven other members of the pitta family are to be found in Vietnam including an attractive subspecies of Blue Pitta on the Dalat Plateau and the rare and elusive Blue-naped Pitta in Northern Vietnam.

You may know: Mention Vietnam to anyone who has spent time birding in the country or is perhaps planning a birding trip to Vietnam in the future and the names of two particular bird families will surely come up, pittas and laughing thrushes

The overview of Pittas families

Pittas are a family, Pittidae, of passerine birds found in Asia, Australasia, and Africa. There are thought to be 40 to 42 species of pittas, all similar in general appearance and habits. The pittas are Old World suboscines, and their closest relatives among other birds are in the genera Smithornis and Calyptomena. Initially placed in a single genus, as of 2009 they have been split into three genera: Pitta, Erythropitta, and Hydrornis. Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards, at 15 to 25 cm (5.9–9.8 in) in length, and stocky, with strong, longish legs and long feet. They have very short tails and stout, slightly decurved bills. Many have brightly colored plumage.

Most pitta species are tropical; a few species can be found in temperate climates. They are mostly found in forests, but some live in scrub and mangroves. They are highly terrestrial and mostly solitary, and usually forage on wet forest floors in areas with good ground cover. They eat earthworms, snails, insects, similar invertebrate prey, and small vertebrates. Pittas are monogamous and females lay up to six eggs in a large domed nest in a tree or shrub, or sometimes on the ground. Both parents care for the young. Four species of pittas are fully migratory, and several more are partially so, though their migrations are poorly understood.

Pittas of Vietnam species note

Pittas of Vietnam - Eared Pitta

Eared Pitta Hydrornis phayrei

Status: Uncommon resident (W&E Tonkin, C Annam)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tour cover: Cuc Phuong

Hotspot: Cuc Phuong Np.

Add a subheading 5 WANEE asia

Blue-naped Pitta Hydrornis nipalensis

Status: Scarce resident (W&E Tonkin, N Annam)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: North Vietnam

Hotspot: Tam Dao Np, Pu Mat Np.

28 1 WANEE asia

Rusty-naped Pitta Hydrornis oatesi

Status: Uncommon resident (W&E Tonkin, N, C & S Annam)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours:

Hotspot: Dalat

73 1 WANEE asia

Blue-rumped Pitta Hydrornis soror

Status: Fairly Common resident (throughout)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours:

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Ma Da, Tan Phu

72 WANEE asia

Blue Pitta Hydrornis cyaneus

Status: Local fairly common resident (E Tokin, N, C & S Anam)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours:

Hotspot: Di Linh, Dalat

19 2 WANEE asia

Bar-bellied Pitta Hydrornis elliotii

Status: Local common resident (throughout)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours:

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Ma Da, Tan Phu

Add a subheading 7 WANEE asia

Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis

Status: Common breeding visitor (C&S Annam, pass migrant E Tokin)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours:

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Nui Dinh, Ma Da

40 1 WANEE asia

Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha

Status: Rare pass migrant (E Tonkin, N&C Annam, Cochinchina)

Best time to watch & Photo: Jun-Aug

Tours:

Hotspot: Ma Da, Tan Phu

Add a subheading 8 WANEE asia

Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida

Status: Rare breeding visitor (W Tonkin, S Annam, Cochinchina)

Best time to watch & Photo: Aug-Sep

Hotspot: Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta

All Vietnam Birds Families

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