Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Blue pitta

Hydrornis cyaneus, Edward Blyth, 1843

(In Thai: นกแต้วแล้วสีน้ำเงิน)

The blue pitta (Hydrornis cyaneus) is a species of bird in the family Pittidae found in the northeastern Indian subcontinent, southern China, and Indochina. It typically lives in moist forests but can also inhabit dry forest. It is an unobtrusive, solitary bird which feeds by foraging on the ground for insects and other small invertebrates.


Pittas are medium-sized, stocky passerine birds with long legs and short tails. The blue pitta grows to a length of about 23 cm. It has a yellow forehead and crown and a bright orange nape. A bold black stripe passes through the eye and there is a less well-defined, short stripe on the chin. The male has a blue back and tail and a pale bluish breast, speckled with black. The female has a grey back and a pale grey breast, speckled with black. The bill is dark grey and the legs are pale pink. The call is a long, drawn-out "pleoow-whit" or "choocoo-whip", ending suddenly.

Distribution and habitat

There are three subspecies: H. c. cyaneus occurs in northeastern India and eastern Bangladesh, Myanmar, northern Laos, Vietnam, southern Thailand and southern China; H. c. aurantiacus occurs in eastern Thailand and southwestern Cambodia; H. c. willoughbyi occurs in central Laos and southern Vietnam. The bird's altitudinal range is from sea level up to about 2000 m -2. It is a forest bird, typical habitat being lowland and montane moist evergreen forest with bamboos, often near streams and in ravines, but it also occurs in drier tropical forests.


Like other members of their genus, blue pittas are shy, secretive birds and usually occur singly, even juveniles foraging alone except when being visited by their parents; they will however respond to recordings of their call. They are diurnal, which enables them to see their often cryptic prey, but they often forage in darker areas of the forest. They search through plant litter on the forest floor for insects (especially beetles) and their larvae, spiders, snails, worms and grubs, flicking away leaves and probing the ground with their beaks. Breeding takes place in May and June in India and Myanmar, and between June and October in Thailand. The nest is a large, bulky dome-shaped structure with a side entrance, hidden amongst tangled plant growth.


The blue pitta has a very wide range and although scarce in India and China, is common in suitable habitat over much of its range, being particularly abundant on the Bolaven Plateau in Laos. It is present in some protected areas, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Resident or presumed resident

Scientific classification

Hydrornis cyaneus

Common names

  • Thai: นกแต้วแล้วสีน้ำเงิน


  • Pitta cyanea aurantiaca, Jean Théodore Delacour & Pierre Jabouille, 1928

    Range: Cambodia and S/E Thailand

  • Pitta cyanea cyanea, Edward Blyth, 1843

    Range: East Bangladesh, N/E India, South China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina

  • Pitta cyanea willoughbyi, Jean Théodore Delacour, 1926

    Range: Central Laos, Vietnam


  • Hydrornis cyaneus, Edward Blyth (1843)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Blue Pitta
Blue pitta (male)
Blue pitta
Blue-pitta (female)

Range Map

Distribution map of Blue pitta, Hydrornis cyaneus in Thailand
  • Chaloem Phrakiat Thai Prachan National Park
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Khun Tan National Park
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Tat Mok National Park
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
Range map of Hydrornis cyaneus in Thailand