A Hooded Pitta visits Joyce’s backyard

posted in: Migration-Migrants | 9

On 18th April 2010 Joyce Tan saw a Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) in her backyard at Singapore’s Serangoon Gardens, not once but twice in the same day.

“My maid Orpa was sweeping the leaves and fallen starfruits this morning – at about 8 am. She was startled by something brightly colored that swooped past her. It must have almost touched her. She saw that it was a colorful bird that landed on the ground. The bird hopped and flew to a corner of the backyard, and hopped and flew back to where she was. …it ‘ran’ into a frosted glass ‘tunnel’ and out the other end – a discarded wall lamp. Then it hopped and scampered to another part of the backyard where there are shrubs, before flying off. Altogether it must have stayed around for 1-2 minutes. She recognised the bird at once when I showed her the photos that I took this afternoon.”

Quipped KC Tsang, “I am just wondering if global warming had anything to do with this, as the bird should have gone home by now.”

The Hooded Pitta is an uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant to Singapore. It arrives from November, peaking in December, with a few around until early May.

Image by Joyce Tan.

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9 Responses

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Of all the pittas, the Hooded is the most common in the bird trade. It is not particularly fussy about food and will quite readily take mealworms as well as the standard dry mixtures for insectivorous birds. unlike other pittas which are notoriously delicate and finicky eaters. There is a possibility that this bird was an escapee since I have often seen hooded pittas offered for sale in the cluster of pet shops at Serangoon North, very close to Serangoon Gardens.

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  2. Lee Chiu San

    The Hooded is the most common Pitta in the bird trade. Unlike the other Pittas which are notoriously delicate and very finicky eaters, the Hooded will usually take mealworms and the standard dry commercial feed mixtures for insectivorous birds.

    As this bird was found in Serangoon Gardens, it could possibly have been an escapee from the cluster of bird shops in the nearby Serangoon North, where Pittas are sometimes offered for sale.

    If you rescue a Pitta and have to feed it, there is a good chance that it will eat earthworms, and even then, only the grey or red ones, not the shiny black variety.

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  3. Tou Jing Yi

    The bird may be on passage, it reaches northern Malaysia during last week of April, I have also seen a dead Blue-winged on 26/4/2007 at Central Malaysia (PJ), they are likely still gonna be seen in parts of Malaysia until earlier May, so your bird does not seemed to be one on odd dates.

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  4. K C Tsang

    Yes, we can confirm that Pittas do eat earth worms, centipedes, and meal worms, as had been seen by myself and some others at Singapore Botanic Gardens, and Bidadari Cemetery ..

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  5. Joyce S Y Tan

    thanks to Jing Yi and Chiu San for the interesting responses. I was fortunate to have spotted the beautiful Hooded Pitta as we have not seen it again since. But I’m still busy watching other birds that come to feed on the bountiful starfruit.

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  6. hi, we picked up a hooded pitta at raffles place. i think its a juv, cant fly. now trying to feed it and see if it is able to survive…

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    • Tou Jing Yi

      hi fiona,

      any photo? It would be interesting if it is a juvenile, since they are probably never known to breed in Singapore before?

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  7. K C Tsang

    Hi Fiona, Pittas eat meal worms, earth worms, centipedes etc…

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