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6 Beautiful Pitta Birds Found in Krabi

Pitta birds are a special target of birdwatchers all over the world. When birdwatchers come to Thailand they usually want to tick a species of pitta or two from their long list of birds found in the areas they visit.

There are 51 species of pitta across the world with 14 pitta species in Thailand. Six pittas can be found in the Southern province of Krabi.

Of these 14 known pitta species in Thailand, some are very difficult to find. Others like Gurney’s Pitta and the Garnet Pitta are even said to be extinct from within Thailand’s borders.

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6 Krabi Pittas – Helpful Information for Birdwatchers

Hooded Pitta

We have found hooded pittas sleeping on the ground at night when we go looking for snakes and other animals at night on our night wildlife field trips. This was unusual to us and then we found out that the Hooded Pitta builds its nest on the ground like some other Thailand birds.

Appearance: A black head, brown crown, and green body and wings with different gradations of green.

A hooded pitta on the ground in Krabi, Thailand in dense rainforest.
Don’t be surprised to find the Hooded Pitta sleeping on the ground. They build nests there too.

Diet: Many kinds of insects and their larvae found on the ground in the leaf litter. Berries are also a big part of their diet.

Habitat & Locations: Found all over Thailand except the Northcentral and Northeast areas. Breeding period lasts from February to August. Nests are built on the ground.

Where in Krabi: We have seen the Hooded Pittas mostly inland at the major mountain chain and the Khao Phra Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mangrove Pitta

Appearance: A black head with brown crown. The throat is white. The upper body is greenish. The breast can be yellow/gold. It has a red/maroon vent area. This one looks a lot like the Blue-winged Pitta which is also found in Krabi, but this one has a much thicker bill.

Diet: Crustaceans, mollusks, and insects.

Habitat & Locations: It is found in mangrove and Nipa palm forests. You can find it usually 4-10 meters off the ground sitting on branches in mangrove or other trees. This bird’s range is from Rayong to Satun province on Thailand’s West Coast.

Where in Krabi: We see the Mangrove Pitta in mangrove areas close to the ocean, and also some palm and banana tree plantations near the coast. At times we see this beautiful bird inland at rubber tree plantations and dense rainforest, often near bamboo.

Giant Pitta

Appearance: Male has bright blue wings and grey chest. Female has much more brown wings and light tan chest. Larger than other pitta birds.

Diet: Insects and larvae, worms, small lizards and snakes, and frogs are all reportedly on the menu for the Giant Pittas.

Habitat & Locations: A ground-dwelling pitta species found in various secondary forest spots with dense jungle up to 1,200 meters, and very wet swampy areas. It probably exists in many more but there are not many birders at parks other than the typically known ones. Found in Nakhon Si Thammarat at Khao Luang and in Surat Thani at Khao Sok Park as well as other locations in Thailand farther from Krabi like Kaeng Krachan Park and Bala Park in Narathiwat.

Where in Krabi: There have been a number of good sightings at Khao Phra Bang Khram Park in Krabi (Emerald Pool area).

Blue-winged Pitta

Appearance: A black head with a buff stripe above the eye, a white collar around the neck, greenish upper parts, blue wings, buff underparts and a reddish vent area. This one looks like the Mangrove Pitta, but has a smaller beak/bill.

A blue-winged pitta in the leaf litter on the ground in dense tropical rainforest jungle in Krabi, Thailand.
The Blue-winged Pitta looks very close to the Mangrove Pitta at the top of the page.

Diet: Insects, worms, and small invertebrates mostly.

Habitat & Locations: It builds a nest on the ground usually near water and often between the roots of trees. The nest is ball shaped and difficult to locate as they are small.

Where in Krabi: Found all over the country, you can see the Blue-winged Pittas in the trees around Ko Phi Phi Islands, Krabi Town, Ao Nang Beach, and Khao Phanom Bencha National Park near the waterfall and other areas.

Gurney’s Pitta

Stories abound about whether you can find this very rare and endangered species of pitta in Thailand any longer. There is only one location where this may be possible, and we are lucky it is in Krabi province!

Appearance: A blue cap, black mask, yellow collar, black or yellow breast with regular spotting, buff wings, and turquoise tail.

Diet: Small insects, larvae, slugs, earthworms, and beetles found on the rainforest floor. Often seen poking through the leaf litter, moving leaves around to find bugs.

Habitat & Locations: On the forest floor at a national park in Krabi called Khao Phra Bang Khram. In other words, it’s the same park where you can visit the Crystal Pool (Sra Morakot) and the Blue Pool. There are a couple of paths where people have seen it. One is called the U Trail. You can often see people sitting and standing quietly on the path in hopes of seeing one of these very hard to find birds in Thailand.

Mr. Upton says there are other overgrown trails where Gurney’s has been spotted at this sanctuary, so look around and spread your birding time over different trails.

Gurney’s Pitta Video on YouTube May 25, 2015 – This is Gurney’s but doesn’t say whether it was shot inside Thailand or not. The username seems to indicate they are from or in Thailand.

Note – if you want to see the Gurney’s Pitta, one of the best places to do it is in Malaysia further south. They are not so few in numbers there.

Where in Krabi: If Gurney’s Pitta is anywhere in Thailand it would be found at the national park “Khao Phra Bang Khram” at the same area where you can see and swim in the Crystal Pool and where you can see the Blue Pool.

At this park, the U Trail and B Trail are both known for sightings along the gulleys. If you stay at the Morakot Resort you’ll see the daily bird log which details birds found by bird enthusiasts. Sometimes Gurney’s is on the list.

If not, you can still see this unique and very rare and endangered bird in Malaysia and Burma.

Best Time of Year to Find in Krabi? March to June.

If coming to Krabi to find this pitta, you can plan on spending two to nine days looking at Khao Phra Bang Khram Park.

Other birds you can find at this location: Blue-winged Pitta, Banded Pitta, Giant PItta, Hooded Pitta. Blyth’s and Wallace’s Hawk Eagle. Scarlet-rumped Trogons. Broadbills: Banded, black and yellow, black/red, yellow/green. Barbets – Red-throat and Red-crown. Bulbuls, Babbler, Spotted Wood Owls.

Malayan Banded Pitta

Appearance: Males have a yellow/red crown, black mask, white throat, yellow collar (back), brown top, deep blue chest, and bright blue tail. Females have the same head, a yellow collar, a yellow breast with black bars across it. The top is brown with some white on the bottom of the wings. The female of this species resembles the Gurney’s Pitta and is often misidentified as such.

Diet: The Malayan Banded Pitta eats mainly small insects like flies, caterpillars, beetles, and also fruit.

Habitat & Locations: Mainly found in lowland evergreen forests – even swamps. Found at elevations up to 600 and even 1500 m.

Where in Krabi: The range map shows this bird as possibly resident in the Krabi area. We have not seen one since we started looking for birds here, but they are probably here.

Where Can Pittas Be Found in Krabi?

The best place to find pittas in Krabi is on our 3 hour birdwatching tour by boat through the mangroves. This tour leaves from Krabi Town at 6:30 am. Sunday through Saturday (all days). The fee is very reasonable and includes up to 3 people (it’s a small boat).

Can Gurney’s Pitta Be Found in Thailand?

A female Gurney's Pitta painting in color.
Gurney’s pitta – female – by Gemini AI. Pretty good painting of this bird.

YouTube shows a few videos of Gurney’s Pittas found in Southern Thailand. Some of these videos are from Khao Noi Chu Chi, Krabi, Thailand in the year 2011. Others are from 2013 and 2017. There don’t seem to be any recent YouTube video of Gurney’s found in Thailand since those dates.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t here or that someone didn’t get photos or videos. Someone may have them. Someone may be keeping an exact location a secret or not publicizing on social media exactly where the birdwatchers of the world can find them.

If Khao Noi Chu Chi Wildlife Refuge doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because it is now known by a completely different name – Khao Phra Bang Khram National Park. This is the national park in Krabi province near Trang where you can find the Crystal Pool and Blue Pool.

How Can You Book a Tour to See Pittas in Krabi?

At the moment we can set you up with a bird tour by boat in the early morning. This is the most productive birding tour we have and we have never had a bad review about it. The guide knows his birds and the calls and he can zero in on them for great photos.

He has a smaller boat than a typical big longtail boat so he can get into some skinny (shallow) water and spots bigger less maneuverable boats cannot.

You can contact us by filling out this short form to arrange your morning birdwatching tour from Krabi Town.

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All Pittas Found in Thailand

  • Bar-bellied PittaHydrornis elliotii. Found only in Southern Ubon Ratchathani province in subtropical/tropical moist lowland forest.
  • Blue-naped PittaHydrornis nipalensis. Loei and Uttaradit area in Northern Thailand in bamboo jungles and open clearings. Nesting from April to August. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Blue PittaHydrornis cyaneus. Found in lowland and wet montane evergreen forest near bamboo, and freshwater streams. Breeding is from March to June. Can be found from Bangkok and northward, but not found in the Northeast or Southern Thailand. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Blue-rumped PittaHydrornis soror. Found only in Chanthaburi province near Cambodia in open clearings in subtropical/tropical moist lowland forest & submontane forest. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Blue-winged PittaPitta moluccensis. Found all across Thailand. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Eared PittaHydrornis phayrei. Found in Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan and North, but not the Northeast. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Fairy PittaPitta nympha. Breeding in months of April to September in North Asia – Korea area. In Thailand found around Southern Bangkok, Chonburi, Pattaya, and Khon Kaen. IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
  • Garnet PittaErythropitta granatina. Found in moist lowland forest only in the southernmost province of Narathiwat at Bala Refuge. Breeding from March to August. IUCN Status: Near threatened.
  • Giant PittaHydrornis caeruleus. Found in large, dense forest locations from Kaeng Krachan National Park down to Krabi, and as far south as Narathiwat province. IUCN Status: Near threatened.
  • Gurney’s PittaHydrornis gurneyi. Found at one location in Thailand, at Khao Phra Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary in Krabi. IUCN Status: Endangered.
  • Hooded PittaPitta sordida. Found in Thailand from the deepest south of Narathiwat up to the furthest northern provinces. Not found in Northeast. Breeding occurs February to August. IUCN Status: Least concern.
  • Malayan Banded PittaHydrornis irena. Found across Southern Thailand only. IUCN Status: Near threatened.
  • Mangrove PittaPitta megarhyncha. Found in SOuthern Thailand from Ranong to Satun provinces. IUCN Status: Near threatened.
  • Rusty-naped PittaHydrornis oatesi. Found from Narathiwat to the far Northern Provinces but not found in the Northeast. Usually found above 800 meters. IUCN Status: Least concern.