Family Pittas (Pittidae)

Least Concern

Elegant Pitta (Pitta elegans)


French: Brève élégante German: Schmuckpitta Spanish: Pita elegante

Pitta elegans


, 1836,



Sometimes considered conspecific with P. brachyura or P. moluccensis; has alternatively been treated as a subspecies group of P. versicolor. White-chinned race vigorsii sometimes given full species rank, and produces a different contact call#R; situation complex, with different vocal groups and unclear patterns of migration in some populations. Proposed forms kalaoensis (Kalao, S of Sulawesi) and plesseni (Kalaotoa) indistinguishable from virginalis; forms hutzi (S Nusa Penida I, in Lombok Strait) and everetti (Alor) inseparable from concinna. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. concinna Gould, 1857 – Lesser Sundas on Nusa Penida, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Adonara, Lembata and Alor.
  • P. e. maria E. J. O. Hartert, 1896 – Sumba.
  • P. e. virginalis#R E. J. O. Hartert, 1896 – islands of Tanahjampea, Kalao and Kalaotoa (S of Sulawesi).
  • P. e. elegans Temminck, 1836 – Elegant Pitta – C Lesser Sundas (Semau, Timor, Kisar, possibly Roti); recorded also (probably as non-breeding visitor) on islands of Ruang and Tahulandang (N of Sulawesi), Ternate (off W Halmahera), Banggai Is, Sula Is (Taliabu, Mangole, Sanana) and C Moluccas (Buru, Boano, Seram).
  • P. e. vigorsii Gould, 1838 – White-chinned Pitta – S Moluccas (Banda, Kasiui, Kur, Tiur), Kai Is (including Taam, Tayandu) and E Lesser Sundas (Damar, Babar); recorded also, probably as migrant, on Seram and Tanimbar Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    19 cm; 47–77 g. Adult has black head and hindneck, with buff lateral crownstripe; upperparts dark green, rump turquoise-blue, tail black with green tip; large turquoise... read more


    On Sumba “ka-wha-kil” or “hwp-hwp-pw”, also single descending “pwer... read more


    Variety of forest types, both dry and wet, including humid primary forest, dry monsoon forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Stomachs have been found to contain small beetles, lepidopterans and snails. On Sumbawa, seen foraging in association with Emerald Doves (... read more


    Main season apparently Apr–Aug, but probably throughout year. Single nest described, from Babar, built of broadleaves and leaf... read more


    Poorly known. Resident on some islands, e.g. Flores and Sumba. Nominate race appears to undertake... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and not uncommon, though inter-island movements make it difficult to provide accurate assessments in some cases. On many islands, such as... read more

    Recommended citation

    Erritzoe, J. & de Juana, E. (2019). Elegant Pitta (Pitta elegans). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 March 2019).