Rainbow Pitta Dave Curtis/Flickr

Rainbow Pitta

Pitta iris

Did You Know?

  • The population is suspected to be in decline owing to deterioration of monsoon forests caused by fires and habitat degradation caused by feral cattle
FactBox Image

A small native bird with a black head and breast, electric blue shoulder patches and white wing spots. Upperparts are bright olive-green, sometimes a silvery green-blue. The only pitta in the Darwin region, and Australia’s only pitta with a black head and breast.

Its nest is loose, interwoven sticks and dead vines, usually dome-shaped but can be a cup, with entrance at side or near top. It can be in a fork, on a branch, against butress root on the ground, from ground level to 8 metres above.

Size

16 - 18 cm

Behaviour

Call

A brisk ‘we-wik-to-wik’ and high-pitched ‘kiew’.

Diet

Feeds on a wide range of invertebrates, and occasionally on frogs and small skinks.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from late October to early March. Pairs are monogamous, and can raise two broods in a single season. Four eggs are lain that are incubated for 14 days. Both sexes share maternal responsibilities.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Presence

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Nest

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

All year round. Breeding occurs during late October to early March.

Where To Look

  • Northern Western Australia and Northern Territory; East Point, Howard Springs and Fogg Dam are reliable places
  • This species occupies coastal and subcoastal areas where there is plenty of moisture, and protection from fire
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

The Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) occurs in eastern coastal Australia from Torres Strait south to Hunter Region of NSW and will not have a black head and breast.

The Rainbow Pitta is unlikely to be confused with any other bird in the Northern Territory region.