Family Pittas (Pittidae)

Least Concern

Western Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)


French: Brève à capuchon German: Kappenpitta Spanish: Pita encapuchada occidental

Turdus sordidus

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Hitherto considered conspecific with P. novaeguineae and P. rosenbergii (see those species). Race forsteni distinctive, owing to lack of white wing patch, allying it more with P. novaeguineae; however, voice remains unknown (forsteni is apparently rare), so this form is retained as race of present species, pending further information. Although race palawanensis appears morphologically very similar to nominate, it has the longest first note of the two-note song in any taxon of this species complex other than P. rosenbergii#R. In original publication, race mulleri was written thus (without umlaut), so this, rather than muelleri, is correct spelling; contrary to previous reports, both mulleri and forsteni were originally named in genus Brachyurus#R (original descriptions checked). Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. cucullata Hartlaub, 1843 – Chestnut-crowned Pitta – Himalayan foothills from N India (Himachal Pradesh) E to N Myanmar, S China (S Yunnan) and N Vietnam (W Tonkin), S to N Bangladesh, Thailand, S Laos and Cambodia; migrates S as far as Sumatra and Java.
  • P. s. abbotti Richmond, 1902 – Nicobar Is.
  • P. s. mulleri#R (Bonaparte, 1850) – extreme S Thailand, N Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, W Java, Borneo, and W Sulu Is (Sibutu).
  • P. s. bangkana Schlegel, 1863 – Bangka I and Belitung I.
  • P. s. sordida (Statius Müller, 1776) – Western Hooded Pitta – Philippine Is (except Catanduanes, Masbate, Panay, and Palawan group), including Basilan and Sulu Is (Jolo, Tawitawi).
  • P. s. palawanensis Parkes, 1960 – W Philippines (Calauit, Busuanga, Culion, Palawan, Balabac).
  • P. s. sanghirana Schlegel, 1866 – Sangihe I.
  • P. s. forsteni#R (Bonaparte, 1850) – Minahasa Pitta – N Sulawesi.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–19 cm; 42–80·4 g. Adult of nominate race has entire head, including chin and throat, black, upperparts dark green, uppertail-coverts and large patch on... read more


    Call somewhat variable geographically, given up to 20 m above ground (more usually < 10 m) and... read more


    Wide range of habitats occupied: all types of forest, especially primary riverine forest, secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects of many kinds, e.g. beetles, ants, termites (Isoptera), Orthoptera, cockroaches (Blattodea), bugs (Hemiptera), various larvae; also... read more


    Eggs in late Apr–early Aug in India; in May–Oct in SE Asia (Malaysia, Thailand), Dec–May on Borneo and Java, Mar–... read more


    Sedentary over most of range. Race cucullata mostly migratory, N populations making long-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread to rare and local; within its large distribution is perhaps the most common pitta species where suitable... read more

    Recommended citation

    Erritzoe, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Western Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida). 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 26 April 2019).