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North Moluccan Pitta - BirdForum Opus

ssp. rufiventris. Photo © by THE_FERN. Pak Roji's, Halmahera, Indonesia, July 2023

Alternative name: Moluccan Pitta

Erythropitta rufiventris


16 - 18cm. A typical "red-bellied pitta". Wags its tail slowly up and down.

  • head brown with reddish-brown crown and brighter reddish nape
  • nape with small contrasting red patch
  • mantle and back dark green or blue (depending on subspecies)
  • rump and tail dull dark green to dull blue
  • upperwing coverts deep blue
  • flight-feathers black with variable small white spots on primaries
  • throat pale brown
  • band across breast broad glossy blue with (variable) thin black and greenish band below
  • rest of underparts scarlet
  • bill black
  • cyanonota with bright rufous nape, dull blue upperparts, pale buffy-brown cheeks and throat and entire breast pale blue (sometimes with thin black line below breast
  • bernsteini slightly bigger than cyanonota, paler above and the blue of the breast is silvery

Females are duller and more green and less blue on breast. Juveniles are dull brown above and have a dull blue rump and tail.


Found on Halmahera and other islands in the North Moluccas, (Indonesia)
Common and widespread on Obi islands and Bacan, recorded in low densities on Halmahera.


Three subspecies recognized:

  • E. r. rufiventris on Morotai, Halmahera, Kasiruta, Bacan, Moti, Damar and Obi islands
  • E. r. cyanonota on Ternate Island (North Moluccas)
  • E. r. bernsteini on Gebe Island (east of Halmahera)

Formerly included in Red-bellied Pitta.


Lowland evergreen forest. Also in secondary habitats.
Recorded up to 2100 m on Bacan.



Feeds on insects and their larvae, earthworms and some plant material.
Forages mainly on the ground.


The domed nest is made of twigs and leaves, grass and ferns. It's mostly placed on the ground or low in scrub or a tree. Some nests were placed 10m above the ground. Lays 2 eggs.


Probably a sedentary species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. 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). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.3). 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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