Family Pittas (Pittidae)

Least Concern

Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor)


French: Brève versicolore German: Lärmpitta Spanish: Pita bulliciosa

Pitta versicolor


, 1825,

“Australasia” = New South Wales, Australia


Formerly considered conspecific with P. elegans or with P. iris. Birds of Cairns area (NE Queensland) sometimes separated as race intermedia on basis of size and plumage characters, but differences appear to be due to clinal variation in zone of contact between N and S races. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. v. simillima Gould, 1868 – islands in Torres Strait, and NE Queensland (from Cape York Peninsula S to Cairns district); some migrate to S New Guinea.
  • P. v. versicolor Swainson, 1825 – Cairns District S to E New South Wales (S to R Hunter region).
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; male 70–112 g, female 70–128 g. Adult has forecrown to nape chestnut with narrow black median stripe, rest of head, hindneck and throat black;... read more


    Short low whistle, “hhwup-hu-hwip” or “phwheat-ah-wheat” c. 1–1... read more


    Predominantly rainforest with luxuriant to sparse undergrowth, mostly in wet gulleys and river... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly snails and insects (beetles, ants), also earthworms, spiders, woodlice (Isopoda); occasionally shrimps and crabs, also leeches,... read more


    Laying recorded Oct–Apr (mostly Nov–Jan) in N and Jul–Feb (mostly Oct–Dec) in S. Domed nest c. 30 cm tall and 20... read more


    Not well known. Partial migrant in N, where some make post-breeding migration N to S New Guinea in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Moderately common to rather scarce; common at only a few sites, including Yarraman District SE (Queensland) and Georgica (New South Wales); rare in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Erritzoe, J. (2019). Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor). 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 May 2019).