The Blue-Winged Pitta is Koh Chang’s Tropical Colorful Gem
The Blue-Winged Pitta
The Blue-winged Pitta is a regular visitor of Koh Chang. It is frequently seen wandering the subtropical and tropical moist lowland forest area of the island which is regarded as its natural habitat. This species is not endemic to Koh Chang for it is found in countries of the Southeast Asia like Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. It is also present in China and Hong Kong.
The Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) measures 180–205 mm (7.1–8.1 in) in length. It has a black head with a buff-colored eyebrow line, white chin and buff under parts. The shoulders and mantle are greenish, the wings are bright blue, and the vent is reddish. This small, plump-breasted bird has a strong bill, longish pale pink legs, and short tail. The Blue-Winged Pitta breeds at different times. It builds a large, untidy spherical nest on the ground of twigs, roots, grasses, leaves and mosses, with a side entrance, often between tree roots near water. The female lays 4-6 white or cream eggs, heavily marked with purple, that are incubated by both parents for 15-17 days. When one is nesting, the other forages along moist, muddy grounds or small twigs. It goes back to the nesting area bringing food mostly worms for its incubating partner. This activity is done by both male and female turning turns until the chicks are hatched and ready to leave the nest on their own.
This bird reacts to danger by standing with its back turned towards an intruder, making it hard to see. It forages by flicking fallen leaves aside using its bill to expose the prey. The Blue-winged Pitta mostly feeds on worms, ants and insects such as crickets, hunting them on the ground or from a low branch or perch, but it also eats hard-shelled snails or mollusks in some murky areas. Its loud call has been transcribed as “taew-laew taew-laew”.