Sunday, December 10, 2023
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Black-headed Pitta

With colors like that, it's no wonder Pittas are the birders' and photographers' prize catch. Add to that the shy nature and multiply its silent movements often in thick undergrowth, this is not an easy bird to find. One has to be quiet and very patient. The bird usually finds you rather than the other way round, as it was the case of this beautiful Bornean endemic. 

Chin Hock called out to me on the cross junction of the Kingfisher and Pitta trails of the Sepilok RDC. I was off a few tens of yards looking for a kingfisher. When I finally arrived at his spot, we thought this shy one had eluded our cameras. But as we moved into the Pitta trail (no joke! That's what the trail is named), it reappeared skipped on the ground, gave us a once over, then carried on with its hunt for ground grub. It fluttered off eventually but we had a good long look of this magnificent bird.

The Pitta ussheri is endemic to Borneo and also known as the Black and Crimson Pitta. There are 10 Pitta species found in Borneo, with 4 endemics and 3 migrants and 1 with unknown status. The Black-crowned was recently split from the Garnet Pitta and is found strictly in the lowlands.