No other bornean rainforest bird will claimed the title of being the JEWELS of the rainforest floor other than the elusive and simply beautiful Pittas. Pittas, from the family Pittidae inhabits mainly the humid tropical rainforest regions of South East Asia and Australasia even though pittas can also be found in both Africa and India. The name pitta is said to have been derived from the Telugu language in Andhra Pradesh of India which generally is used in reference to small birds.
In the rainforest of Borneo, 9 species of pittas can be found and 3 of these species are endemic to this island. The 3 endemic species are the Black-headed Pitta (Pitta usherii), Blue-headed Pitta (Pitta baudii) and the Blue-banded Pitta (Pitta arquata). In the rainforest of Sabah, 8 species of pittas including this 3 endemic species can be found. The other 5 species is the big Giant Pitta (Pitta caerulea), the Banded Pitta (Pitta guajana), the Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) and 2 species of migratory pitta that will normally be visiting Borneo after thier breeding season that is the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) and the Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)
To spot one, you must be extremely patient and lucky as most pittas are known to be very secretive and they tend to sulk a lot in the darker areas of the rainforest floor. With thier high pitched and piercing whistles it is most likely that you will be hearing one more often than having a chance of seeing one. Best places in Sabah to see this Jewels are in the rainforest of Sepilok, Kinabatangan, and Danum Valley.
So far, I have only managed to photographed 2 of these beautiful species of pitta. It will be a big challenge and indeed a tough proposition for me to capture images of the remaining species of pitta but nature works in its own wonderful way and who knows i might just see this JEWEL crossing down a forest trail in the first early morning light...
The Beautiful Black-headed Pitta (Pitta Usherii)
Nikon D80 + 70-300mm VR at 300mm F5.6 ISO 800 Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
The Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)
Nikon D80 + 70-300mm VR at 300mm F5.6 ISO 800 Sepilok Forest Reserve