Bornean Banded Pitta (Male)


Using Canon 5D Mk3, EF300mm Lens, ISO4000, F7.1, 1/200

Today is a very fruitful day for the 3 of us who all got the shot of this lovely Banded Pitta (male).  With the information provided by our birding friend, we head to the Crocker range park near Keningau.  At about 9:30am, we arrived at the park and carried out gear to the park.  Not for long, we heard the male calling near the ginger brushes.   Unfortunately,  the bird has seen our present and moved further away from where we spotted it.

I decided to head towards the direction where the bird disappeared.  I then found myself at a trail where both side of the vegetation over grown and covered the trail, making the surrounding very dark.  I was telling myself this looks like the place where pitta like to hang out and look for food.  I switched on my speaker and start calling for the bird.  The bird sound is a female voice.  For about 5 minutes, I saw something hooping on the floor.  There it is, the Banded Pitta.  However, it didn’t make a sound, just hooping at around 20 feet from where I stand.  I jump from one side of the trail to the other side.   The above was my first clear shot of the bird, who came out and standing at the middle of the trail for about 5 seconds.

Using Canon 5D Mk3, EF300mm Lens, ISO8000, F7.1, 1/200

I quickly SMS my brother and other friend to come over.  This male just stayed around the area.  We made the call and not for long, it will show up at the trail.  Later, we know why it kept coming back to the same area, actually in search for food, i.e. earthworm!!!  Good thing that I got my 5D Mk3, with high ISO of 8000, the above image is still usable.

We now wanted to make another trip there to find the female Banded Pitta.

Happy birding !!!

Information from Wikipedia

The Banded Pitta, Pitta guajana, is a species of bird in the Pittidae family. It is found in forest in the Thai-Malay Peninsula and the Greater Sundas (except Sulawesi).

It includes four subspecies, which can be divided into three main groups: The nominate subspecies from Java and Bali has a yellow eyebrow, underparts that are densely barred in yellowish and blackish-blue and a narrow blue band on the upper chest, irena and ripleyi from the Thai-Malay Peninsula and Sumatra have a more orange eyebrow, a blue belly and a chest that is barred orange and dark bluish (more orange towards the sides; blue towards the center), and schwaneri from Borneo has a blue mid-belly and yellow flanks and chest densely barred with blackish. Females of all subspecies are significantly duller than the males. There are also vocal differences between these, and it has been suggeted they are better treated as three separate species.

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Blue-headed Pitta


Using Canon 5D Mk3, 300mm Lens, ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/80s

Pitta, is the main target bird that we want to photograph for our trip to Danum Valley, which has the highest type of pitta recorded there.  This trip we were lucky to find 2 species of them.  One being this Blue-Headed Pitta, which is an endemic species and not easy to encounter even at the valley.

We spent one whole morning walking on the jungle trail being beaten by leeches. But the price pays off.  After about 3 hours of tracking, our bird guide spotted this lovely colourful bird came out from the brushes and hooping on the trail looking for food.  We were took by the guide that pitta’s main food is leeches.  That’s why were have to pay the price before we could photograph this bird.

About 8 of us line up at the small trail waiting quietly for the guide to make the call to attract the pitta to the open area where we can take a clear short.  We took the shot at a very low light condition, and we need to pump up our ISO to 5000-6400.

Reference from Wikipedia

The Blue-headed Pitta, Pitta baudii, is a species of bird in the pitta family Pittidae. The species is endemic to the island of Borneo, where it occurs in Brunei, Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia). Its natural habitat is tropical lowland evergreen forests. While it does occur in disturbed of secondary forests, it is most common in primary forest. It usually occurs below 600 m (2,000 ft),it has been recorded up to 1,200 m (3,900 ft), but this record has not been verified.

The Blue-headed Pitta is a medium-sized pitta, at 17 cm (6.7 in) in length. The plumage of the male is very brightly coloured, with a bright blue crown, black cheeks, white throat, chestnut red back, violet blue tail and belly, and black wings marked with white. The colours of the female are more subdued, with a buff coloured back and head and blue only being found on the tail.