Noisy Pitta

Did you know?

These birds use anvils to break up food such as snails, which are its favourite food. Anvils can be a polished stone stuck in the ground, a tree stump, or even a broken bottle. Some anvils are used for years.

Has a variety of calls. Commonest is a loud, far carrying "want-a-watch" or "walk-to walk". Also a loud, mournful "keow".
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
Average weight: 
Breeding season: 
epends on location and subspecies. See Breeding section.
Clutch Size: 
3 or 4 usually
16 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The adult Noisy Pitta has a mostly black head and neck but the crown of its head is chestnut brown with a central black stripe. Its upper parts are mostly dark green but it has bright blue shoulder patches. Its underbody is mustard-yellow with a dark area towards the rear but a red patch right at the rear underside. This bird is also called Blue-winged, Buff-breasted, or Lesser Pitta, or Painted Thrush,  Anvil-bird, Dragoon or Dragoonbird.

Similar species: 

The Noisy Pitta is not likely to be confused with other species, within its range, where it is the only Pitta with a mustard-yellow underside.

Where does it live?

The Noisy Pitta is found in eastern coastal Australia from Torres Strait to the Hunter Region in New South Wales. It is also found in southern Papua New Guinea. 


The Noisy Pitta is mostly found in tropical and subtropical rainforests but also in nearby wet and dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands and sometimes in mangroves.

Seasonal movements: 

These are not well known. There are three subspecies of Noisy Pitta. The northern-most one, (subspecies simillima) which lives in northern Cape York and Torres Strait, is a partial migrant between eastern Cape York Peninsula and southern Papua New Guinea, moving north in winter. Some stay on Cape York all year round. Further south subspecies versicolor and intermedia are at least partial migrants between lower coastal areas and higher inland areas. They spend winter near the coast but move inland in summer to breeding areas. However it seems that not all migrate. 

What does it do?

Noisy Pittas eat mostly snails and insects, but also worms, spiders, and other small animals. They will occasionally eat fruit.


The breeding seasons of the three Noisy Pitta subspecies are slightly different. Subspecies simillima in norther Cape York breeds October to March, but from January to April in Torres Strait. Subspecies intermedia breeds from October to January and in June in north-east Queensland. Versicolor lays from July to February in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales.

The nesting site is usually on the ground within rainforest or closed forest. It is usually in such sites as between buttress roots, at the base of a tree, or besides an object like a log or a rock. The nest is a dome-shaped structure with a side entrance. It is made of materials such as sticks, leaves, rootlets, bark and grass. It is lined with finer material. It often has an entrance platform. Both parents build the nest and materials are collected from the forest floor.Both parents assist in incubation and both feed the chicks.

Living with us

The populations of Noisy Pittas have declined due to the clearing of forests for agriculture and for the planting of pine plantations. They are also often preyed on by cats, and used to be shot by pigeon-shooters.

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