Rainbow Pitta Dave Curtis/Flickr

Rainbow Pitta

Did You Know?

  • The population is suspected to be in decline owing to deterioration of monsoon forests caused by fires and habitat degradation caused by feral cattle
FactBox Image

A small native bird with a black head and breast, electric blue shoulder patches and white wing spots. Upperparts are bright olive-green, sometimes a silvery green-blue. The only pitta in the Darwin region, and Australia’s only pitta with a black head and breast.

Its nest is loose, interwoven sticks and dead vines, usually dome-shaped but can be a cup, with entrance at side or near top. It can be in a fork, on a branch, against butress root on the ground, from ground level to 8 metres above.


16 - 18 cm



A brisk ‘we-wik-to-wik’ and high-pitched ‘kiew’.


Feeds on a wide range of invertebrates, and occasionally on frogs and small skinks.


Breeding occurs from late October to early March. Pairs are monogamous, and can raise two broods in a single season. Four eggs are lain that are incubated for 14 days. Both sexes share maternal responsibilities.

Field Guide

Improve your identification skills. Download your Rainbow Pitta field guide here!

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Presence

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Nest

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

All year round. Breeding occurs during late October to early March.

Where To Look

  • Northern Western Australia and Northern Territory; East Point, Howard Springs and Fogg Dam are reliable places
  • This species occupies coastal and subcoastal areas where there is plenty of moisture, and protection from fire
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

The Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) occurs in eastern coastal Australia from Torres Strait south to Hunter Region of NSW and will not have a black head and breast.

The Rainbow Pitta is unlikely to be confused with any other bird in the Northern Territory region.