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Papuan Pitta - BirdForum Opus

Erythropitta macklotii

Includes: Habenicht's Pitta; D'Entrecasteaux Pitta


16 - 18cm.

  • Dark face, forecrown and throat, bright orange-rufous hindcrown an nape, tinged blue ear-coverts and stripe over eye
  • Dark green mantle and back
  • Dull dark green to dull blue rump and tail
  • Deep blue upperwing-coverts, black flight-feathers, variable small white spots on primaries
  • Broad glossy blue band across breast with variable black lower breastband
  • Scarlet rest of underparts
  • Black bill
  • habenichti has a brighter red or orange-red nape
  • finschii has crown to nape uniform dull dark chestnut and deep blue upperparts

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 in New Guinea, extreme northeast Australia, Aru Islands, Raja Ampat Islands and D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago.
Locally common.


Five subspecies recognized:

  • E. m. macklotii on Aru Islands, Raja Ampat Islands, and western and southern New Guinea
  • E. m. loriae in southeastern New Guinea
  • E. m. digglesi breeds in northeastern Cape York Peninsula, Australia; winters in New Guinea
  • E. m. habenichti in northern New Guinea (Weyland Mountains to Astrolabe Bay)
  • E. m. finschii in D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Fergusson and Goodenough Islands; recent sight records from Normanby Island probably also refer this form), off of southeastern New Guinea

Formerly included in Red-bellied Pitta. Clements first divided Papuan Pitta in three species: Papuan Pitta (macklotii, loriae and digglesi), Habenicht's Pitta (habenichti) and D'Entrecasteaux Pitta (finschii), however they are now relumped as Papuan Pitta.


Lowland evergreen forest. Also in secondary habitats.



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


Breeding season March to June in northern New Guinea, mostly April to October in south and east New Guinea and January to February in Australia.
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.


Most populations sedentary but possibly some nomadic movements when the forest floor is so dry that foraging gets difficult. Migratory in northeast Australia where most birds absent from May to December. Believed to migrate to southern New Guinea but few data.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. 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

Recommended Citation

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