Family Ground-rollers (Brachypteraciidae)

Least Concern

Pitta-like Ground-roller (Atelornis pittoides)


French: Brachyptérolle pittoïde German: Blaukopf-Erdracke Spanish: Carraca terrestre cabeciazul

Brachypteracias pittoides


, 1834,





E half of Madagascar: from Amber Mountain National Park and Daraina in extreme N to Andohahela National Park and Tsitongambarika Forest in far S, also in NW (Sambirano area) and on Central High Plateau (around Ambohitantely, Ankazomivady, Ankaratra and Kalambatritra Special Reserve), with records from two inshore islands, i.e. Sainte Marie (in 1830s) and Nosy Mangabe (at least in 1980s).

Descriptive notes

25–29 cm; male 83–89·5 g, female 87–108 g, unsexed 74–114 g. Second smallest ground-roller, slender and long-legged. Both sexes distinctive,... read more


Quiet in non-breeding season. Territorial call a series of penetrating, low- to medium-pitched... read more


Lowland to high-altitude rainforest, in undisturbed parts with dense herb layer, deep leaf litter... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, including ants, beetles, butterflies, cockroaches, other insects, and worms; also small vertebrates, e.g. chameleons and... read more


Season mainly Oct–Feb, although once observed paired in Sept. Probably monogamous and territorial. Excavates in sloping earth bank,... read more


Generally sedentary, but numbers noted to have changed seasonally with weather in one area and an... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in East Malagasy Wet Forests EBA. Previously listed as Near Threatened, but now known to be rather common and... read more

Recommended citation

Langrand, O. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Pitta-like Ground-roller (Atelornis pittoides). 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 20 November 2018).