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Species Guide

Fairy Pitta

Pitta nympha

The Fairy Pitta, Pitta nympha, is a small, vibrantly colored passerine bird, a member of the Pittidae family. It is a veritable kaleidoscope of colors, with a plumage that boasts seven distinct hues, earning it the moniker "eight-coloured bird" or "little forest angel." This avian jewel measures between 16 to 19.5 cm in length and is adorned with a green back, cobalt and green scapulars, a blue rump, and a dark green tail with a cobalt tip. Its underparts are a creamy hue, transitioning to a striking red on the lower belly and undertail coverts, while its crown is a rich chestnut.

Identification Tips

The Fairy Pitta can be distinguished by its multicolored plumage and white throat. Its beak is black, and it has a white patch on each brownish-black primary feather, visible in flight. The bird's supercilia are off-white and extend across the nape. When compared to the similar Blue-winged Pitta, the Fairy Pitta is smaller, with chestnut rather than buff crown sides and supercilia, and less vivid blue on the upper wing coverts.


This species is highly localized in subtropical forests, indicating a preference for specific habitat conditions. It breeds in dense, moist deciduous forests and favors islands off the southern part of Korea, such as Geoje and Jeju Island.


The Fairy Pitta breeds in East Asia and migrates south to winter in Southeast Asia. It has been observed in China, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and Japan, with stopovers in places like North Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand.


The Fairy Pitta is a territorial and somewhat secretive bird. It perches high on tree branches, often shaking its tail up and down while singing. The male is known to defend its territory with calls.

Song & Calls

Its song is a clear, whistled "kwah-he kwa-wu," similar to the Blue-winged Pitta but longer and slower.


Nesting occurs in dark places within thick broadleaf forests or foliage on slopes, with the nest entrance sometimes lined with cattle dung. Both parents incubate the eggs, and the female primarily feeds the hatchlings. The nestling period lasts about 14 days, with fledging occurring in June or July.

Similar Species

The Blue-winged Pitta is similar in appearance but larger, with brighter upper tail coverts, a darker yellowish-brown belly, and more vivid blue on the upper wing coverts.

Diet and Feeding

The Fairy Pitta forages on the ground, primarily consuming earthworms, beetles, and other insects. It also eats a variety of small animals, including larvae, spiders, snails, lizards, frogs, small snakes, and shrews.

Conservation status

The Fairy Pitta is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is listed in CITES Appendix II. Its population is declining due to habitat loss, hunting, trapping, and other human disturbances. Conservation measures are in place in various regions to protect this species and its habitat.

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Fairy Pittas on Birda

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Akharachai Rojbundit
07 May 2022 - 6:56am

More Pittas

A photo of a Blue Pitta (Hydrornis cyaneus) , male

Blue Pitta

Hydrornis cyaneus
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