Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology
(Conopophagidae; Ϯ Black-crowned Pittasoma P. michleri) Genus Pitta Vieillot, 1816, pitta; Gr. σωμα sōma, σωματος sōmatos body; "Genus PITTASOMA, nobis. General aspect of Conopophaga, Vieillot, but larger, and bearing about the same relation to that genus as Grallaria, Vieillot, does to Grallaricula, Sclater. Also resembling Pitta, Vieillot, but differing from all the genera here mentioned, except Conopophaga, in having the bill wide and depressed, not compressed. Form robust, wings short, concave, rounded, fifth, sixth and seventh quills longest; tail very short; bill strong, wide at base and narrowing gradually, depressed, upper mandible notched near the tip, and with the culmen distinct, a few rudimentary bristles at base; nostrils oval, inserted in a large membrane; legs long, very strong, tarsus with about five large scales in front, which become nearly integral on the outside, and quite so behind; toes moderate; claws curved, sharp. 90. PITTASOMA MICHLERI, nobis. ... This is the most remarkable bird in the collection of the expedition, and is one of the most handsome of the Ant Thrushes, if indeed to that group it and the genus Conopophaga belong. Though with the general form and appearance of Pitta and Grallaria, this bird differs from them in having a very strong depressed and rather wide bill, not compressed as in those genera. In this respect, and other structural characters, it approximates to Conopophaga, and also in having more variegated and agreeable colors than in Grallaria. This bird is in fact, the most handsome bird of its group yet discovered in America. ... This handsome bird I have named in honor of the commanding officer of the expedition, Lieut. N. Michler, of the U.S. Topographical Engineers" (Cassin 1860). Until recently the pittasomas or gnatpittas were regarded as members of the Grallariidae.