Mangrove Pitta
Mangrove Pitta @Bhitarkanika National Park | Source: MFD Rajnagar.

Mangrove Pitta

 

Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) is a colourful bird; blackhead with brown crown, white throat, greenish upperparts, buff underparts and reddish vent area found foraging in the mangrove woods of southern Asia. The bird merely weighs more than 70 grams, fly all over the mangrove forest full of dangerous animals like tigers, snakes, crocodiles and many more. Mangrove Pitta is native to the countries of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. Its natural habitat is limited to tropical and subtropical mangroves forest of the Indian subcontinent and Southern Asia.

Classification

Kingdom:         Animalia

Phylum:           Chordata

Class:               Aves

Order:              Passeriformes

Family:             Pittidae

Genus:             Pitta

Species:           P. megarhyncha

The bird is frequently sighted in the mangroves; hence it is named as Mangrove Pitta.   This bird is a passerine bird species belonging to the Pittidae family.  It feeds on insects, crustaceans molluscs found in mangrove plants and mangrove forest ground.  It’s call sounds like wieuw-wieuw, fills joy in the heart of listeners.

 

In India, the bird is only found in the mangroves of Sundarbans and Bhitarkanika. In Bhitarkanika the bird is seen perching on Mangrove trees as well as foraging on mangrove ground.  The bird is found to be breeding in the months of May to August in Bhitarkanika National Park.   Mangrove Pitta build nests on high branches of mangrove trees like Heritiera fomes as well as at low height close to the ground in bushy Phoenix paludosa. At a time, the bird lays two to four eggs in its small nest. The eggs are small having spots on them.  In Bhitarkanika National Park, generally, the sweet sounds of mangrove Pitta listened during the breeding time in the months of May-June.

 

Habitat of this beautiful bird is highly specialised and restricted to the mangroves; hence the bird is threatened by habitat loss. Globally Mangrove Pitta is listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Clearance of coastal mangrove forest possesses an imminent threat to this species.  At present, there are no known conservation measures in place for this small bird. Withal, the species occurs in protected areas such as the Sundarbans National Park and Bhitarkanika National Park in India which provide a secure home to this beautiful bird.

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