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Black-crowned Pitta - BirdForum Opus

Disambiguation: For the species Erythropitta venusta (also known as Black-crowned Pitta) see Graceful Pitta

Alternative names: Black-and-crimson Pitta, Black-headed Pitta, Sabah Pitta

Photo by jonathonscv
Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia, April 2013
Erythropitta ussheri


13 - 15 cm. Sexually monomorphic
Head black with elongated pale blue feathers from behind the eye to the edge of the nape forming two thin "horns". Back, scapulars and rump purplish black (in good light). Upper breast dark purple, the rest of the underparts bright crimson. Tail dark blue. Wings black with bright, bold, shining blue "wing panel" formed by the lesser and median coverts. Bill black, eye dark and legs slaty flesh.


Endemic to Eastern Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia.
Locally common in its range.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Often treated as a taxon of Garnet Pitta Erythropitta granatina but parapatry, lack of good evidence of hybridisation and distinct vocalisations indicate this should be regarded as a "good" species.

Formerly placed in genus Pitta.


Damp areas in lowland rainforest, up to 300m. Tolerates altered and heavily degraded forest.


Terrestrial, but roosts up to 10m. above ground in creepers and understory shrubs.
Breeds from early February to August. The domed nest has a side entrance and is made of twigs, fibres and dead leaves. It's placed on the ground. Lays 2 eggs.


The diet includes snails, insects and invertebrates.


Similar to Garnet Pitta but fades away at the end while Garnet Pitta stops abruptly.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2003. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed., with updates to October 2008 (Corrigenda 8). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691117010
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2010. IOC World Bird Names (version 2.7). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  4. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and D Christie, eds. 2003. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334504

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