Indian Pitta – also locally known as Navarang (nine colours) for a reason.
A buff coloured crown stripe, black coronal stripes, a thick black eye stripe and white throat and neck. The upperparts are green, with a blue tail, the underparts buff, with bright red on the lower belly and vent. Didn’t we say nine colors in one bird? 🙂 🙂
Indian Pitta by far has been a dream bird for me since I started birding some seven years ago. Breeding in the forests of the Himalayas, hills of central and western India, they migrate down south in winter.
The way our cultures interwind with nature is just so amazing to know and more so when we hear legends and stories which are so fascinating and sometimes even amusing. I was doing my research to write this short story and I learnt the Indian Pitta’s Sinhalese interpretation of its call is that the bird is complaining about the theft of its dress by a peacock: “Evith giya, evith giya, ayith kiyannam, methe budun buduwana vita ayith kiyannam,” which translates as: “Came and went! Came and went! I’ll still be complaining when the next Buddha comes! I’ll still be complaining!”
Let me give you a glimpse of how they call (source Xeno-canto)
Although very colourful, they are usually shy and hidden in the undergrowth where they hop and pick insects on the forest floor. This makes it very difficult to witness them, also they are extremely sensitive to presence of the unknown which makes it quite difficult for we humans to observe and photograph them.
Wikipedia tells us, the name pitta comes from the Telugu word meaning “small bird”. Since this beauty travels across the peninsula, it has earned local names in many languages – Hindi: Naorang, Punjabi: Nauranga (=Nine colours), Bengali: Shumcha, Gujarati: Navaranga or Hariyo; Tamil: Aru-mani kuruvi (=6-O’Clock bird), Kathelachi, Thotta kallan; Telugu: Polanki pitta, Ponnangi pitta; Malayalam: Kavi; Kannada: Navaranga and Sinhalese: Avichchiya.
The first time I witnessed this beauty was at Tattekad (near Cochin), Kerala. To my and fellow birders surprise, this time around not only did we have a clear view, the little fellow was also more than happy to pose for us on twigs around.
Text source: thewebsiteofeverything.com and wikipedia.org