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Pittas: Pittidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Pittas are terrestrial birds, staying generally on or near the ground. They prefer to walk or run, rather than fly, when alarmed or disturbed, and tend to be shy, usually found alone or in pairs. They do not generally migrate, move seasonally, but some species migrate at night over land and water. The birds defend a territory that varies depending on the species from 0.8 to 2.5 acres (0.3 to 1.0 hectares), but can be as large as 50 acres (20 hectares). Their defense calls are one, two, or sometimes three syllables that sound like a whistle or buzz. A loud pleasant double whistle is heard in the early morning or evening. When unwanted visitors enter their territory, pittas flash a white wing patch, spread the tail, or fan out the bright breast feathers. At other times, pittas stay hidden by lowering their bright breasts and remaining still.

Most pittas are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; have one mate). They begin to breed at the start of the wet season, except for one species that breeds year-round. Both sexes build a large, bulky, domed nest that is loosely constructed with leaves and twigs that are placed on a platform made of larger sticks. A side entrance is often made in front of a path or clearing that the female faces as she sits on her eggs. The interior is lined with fibers or finer leaves. The nest may be located on the ground or 3 to 50 feet (1 to 15 meters) above the ground, usually in low vegetation. Females lay two to seven eggs, although most species lay three to four eggs. The incubation period (time to sit on eggs before hatching) is fourteen to sixteen days, with both sexes sharing incubating duties. Young are born naked, blind, and unable to move far. Both males and females share the brooding and feeding of young. The fledgling period (time for a young bird to grow feathers necessary to fly) is eleven to seventeen days. Although able to fly, they are still fed by the adults for seven to ten days, and up to thirty days.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPittas: Pittidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Hooded Pitta (pitta Sordida): Species Accounts, African Pitta (pitta Angolensis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PITTAS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS