Blue-winged Pitta catching a worm

on 22nd February 2009

One of the favourite food of the Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) is earthworm. These worms (Annelida) are taken most frequently as the bird forages on the forest floor. The bird brush aside the ground litter with a side sweep of its bill to expose the worms and whatever invertebrates that are hidden below. It also digs into the soft soil with its bill to get at worms.

Once it has the worm between its bill, it pulls it out of the ground before manipulating it for swallowing. The image above by Joseph Yao shows the pitta in the act of tugging the earthworm from its burrow.

The pitta has been shown to be able to smell its prey, having a keen sense of smell. It also consumes snails, using stones as its “anvil” on which to smash the shell.

Erritzoe, J. (2003). Family Pittidae (pittas). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp.106-160.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. My name is Srdjan, I’m 37 years old, I live in Serbia (ex Yugoslavia). I adore wild animals, especially birds, and lots of my free time, I spend in the nature watching and learning about them. I don’t have proper place for keeping them, so instead of that I have another obsession, I keep the birds’ feathers. I have collected about 1000 different kinds of feathers so far. All of them are classified according to Latin terms, the place and the date when I found them. Europe is poor with these species, so in my opinion it is a success. I didn’t harm any individual in any way. I turn to you in this way, hoping that you can help me to enlarge my collection. I have a lot of literature about birds, so if you do have any promotion material you can send me. I would like to have it in my library collection, or you can send me anything as a cherished souvenir.

    I send my greetings to you, and I hope that at least you will send me the answer back.

    Nice website.

    Sincerely yours,

    Srdjan Cuturilov

    My address: Cuturilov Srdjan

    Zarka Zrenjanina Street No 120

    21235 Temerin


    1. Hi,

      glad to know you are a nature lover and i have this Pitta Moluccensis (blue-winged pitta) in my house right now.
      if it has some feather fall later, i will send you. it’s really a beautiful bird, fly to my garder in Oct 2012
      i am in Sumatra Island

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