Blue-winged Pitta catching a worm

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 2

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.

2 Responses

  1. Srdjan Cuturilov

    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


    • Ann


      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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