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Fairy Pitta - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Lesser Blue-winged Pitta; Chinese Pitta; Swinhoe's Pitta

Photo © by robby thai
Ko Man Nai Island, Thailand, April 2018
Pitta nympha


16–20 cm (6¼-7¾ in)

  • Chestnut top of head with a black median stripe, a pale buffish supercilium and a broad black band from lores and beneath eye to the nape
  • Dark green upperparts
  • Pale blue rump
  • Black tail with green-blue tip
  • Blue lesser upperwing-coverts
Photo © by Akiyo
Miyazaki, south-Kyushu, Japan, May 2003
  • Black flight-feathers
  • Blue to green edged secondaries
  • Large white primary patch
  • Whitish throat
  • Dirty buff breast and flank with strong green tinge
  • Scarlet lower breast, belly and undertail-coverts
  • Black bill
  • Pale brown-lilac feet

Sexes similar. Juveniles are much duller.

Similar species

Similar to Indian Pitta but larger, different head pattern, no white beneath eye, paler underparts. Ranges don't overlap.


Breeds in southern Japan, southern Korea, east and east-central China and Taiwan.
Winters in northern Borneo.
Rare in its range. Classified as vulnerable.

A reliable place to see the Fairy Pitta is Hu-Ben Village (close to Douliou City), Yunlin County, Taiwan. About 400 birds spend the summer in this area, making it the world's top Fairy Pitta breeding area.


This is a monotypic species.
Forms a superspecies with Indian Pitta, Mangrove Pitta and Blue-winged Pitta.


Moist lowland and foothill forest with thick undergrowth, often near streams. In Japan occasionally in plantations. In Taiwan in scarcely populated wooded areas and bamboo groves.
Up to 1200m, In Japan mostly below 500m, in Taiwan up to 1300m.


Spends most of its time on the ground, shy and secretive in its breeding grounds. Birds on passage sometimes more in the open, showing no fear of humans.


Feeds on beetles, ants, centipedes, snails and earthworms.


Breeding season May to July in Japan and Taiwan, May to June in Korea. The domed nest is made of twigs and leaves. It's placed 2.7 to 5m above the ground in a tree fork or a rock cleft. Lays 4 - 6 eggs.
A highly migratory species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. 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
  5. Encyclopædia Britannica

Recommended Citation

External Links

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