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Books about Pittas

This page lists books that are totally or partially about Pittas. The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.


Eared Pitta
Hydrornis phayrei
Blue-naped Pitta
Hydrornis nipalensis
Blue-rumped Pitta
Hydrornis soror
Rusty-naped Pitta
Hydrornis oatesi
Schneider's Pitta
Hydrornis schneideri
Giant Pitta
Hydrornis caerulea
Blue-headed Pitta
Hydrornis baudii
Blue Pitta
Hydrornis cyanea
Bar-bellied Pitta
Hydrornis elliotii
Banded Pitta
Hydrornis guajana
Gurney's Pitta
Hydrornis gurneyi

Whiskered Pitta
Erythropitta kochi
Red-bellied Pitta
Erythropitta erythrogaster
Blue-banded Pitta
Erythropitta arcuata
Garnet Pitta
Erythropitta granatina
Graceful Pitta
Erythropitta venusta
Black-headed Pitta
Erythropitta ussheri

Hooded Pitta
Pitta sordida
Ivory-breasted Pitta
Pitta maxima
Superb Pitta
Pitta superba
Azure-breasted Pitta
Pitta steerii
Sula Pitta
Pitta dohertyi
African Pitta
Pitta angolensis
Green-breasted Pitta
Pitta reichenowi
Indian Pitta
Pitta brachyura
Fairy Pitta
Pitta nympha
Blue-winged Pitta
Pitta moluccensis
Mangrove Pitta
Pitta megarhyncha
Elegant Pitta
Pitta elegans
Noisy Pitta
Pitta versicolor
Black-faced Pitta
Pitta anerythra
Rainbow Pitta
Pitta iris


The Jewel Hunter

Chris Gooddie



"A tale of one man's obsession with rainforest jewels, this is the story of an impossible dream: a quest to see every one of the world's most elusive avian gems - a group of birds known as pittas - in a single year. Insightful, compelling, and laugh-out-loud funny, this is more than a book about birds. It's a true story detailing the lengths to which a man will go to escape his midlife crisis. A travelogue with a difference, it follows a journey from the suburban straitjacket of High Wycombe to the steamy, leech-infested rainforests of remotest Asia, Africa, and Australia."

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Handbook of Australian, New Zealand, and Antarctic Birds: Volume 5: Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats

Editor: P. J. Higgins, J.M. Peter, W.K. Steele

Illustrations: Jeff Davies

Oxford University Press


Covers 118 species: kingbirds and tyrant-flycatchers; New Zealand wrens; pittas; lyrebirds; scrub-birds; Australian tree-creepers; Australasian wrens (fairy-wrens, grasswrens, and emu-wrens); honeyeaters and chats.

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Pittas, Broadbills and Asities

Frank Lambert and Martin Woodcock

Pica Press


"This study covers two widely-known groups of Old-World tropical birds. Pittas are a gound-dwelling insectivorous species. Broadbills form a more diverse group - some being highly specialized insectivores, others being fructivores. The Asities of Madagascar are also included. In total the guide includes 51 species. There are introductory chapters giving general information about the families. The species accounts include information on identification, habits, breeding, habitats, distribution and status. Includes colour plates of all species and distribution maps."

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Pittas Of The World

Johannes Erritzoe and Helga Boullet Erritzoe

Lutterworth Press


"Referred to as "nature's living jewels", pittas are a brightly-coloured but little known family of birds. The 30 species are found mostly in South-East Asia, with two species in Africa. Their habitat is currently under threat, making many species extremely endangered. This text provides an overview of previous literature on the pitta, a study of the Fairy Pitta and consideration of conservation issues. Each species is depicted in watercolours with documentation of sex, age, date, locality and the museum where each bird-skin is kept, with its registration number. The book, though science based, may be useful as a reference guide for bird-enthusiasts as well as ornithologists, conservationists and museums."

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Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan: Frogmouths to Pittas

Salim Ali, Sidney Dillon Ripley

Oxford University Press


2nd ed: 1996

"From two world-renowned ornithologists, Ali and Ripley's Handbook remains one of the most important reference work on the birds on India and Pakistan, along with the adjacent areas of Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. This ten-volume set presents the life history information, taxonomy, colour pictures of practically every species, of birds in one of the world's richest birdlife regions."

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A Monograph Of The Pittida, Or Family Of Ant-Thrushes

Daniel Giraud Elliot

Colour plates: William Hart, D.G. Elliot, J.G. Keulemans, P. Oudart, Maupert

Bernard Quaritch


From the preface:

"In the interval of time which has elapsed since my first Monograph of the Pittidse was completed, now thirty ago, not only have many new and beautiful species been discovered, but much information of the economy and habits, even of those birds long known to us, has been obtained, and it seemed that the time had arrived to gather all our knowledge of these attractive creatures into one publication, and exhibit the portraits of the new forms - or, in other words, produce an entirely new Monograph. This is what the present work purports to be. I have discarded the text of the earlier Monograph, and have written this one, beginning with the first records of these birds that were admissible in our science, as if the subject had only now for the first time engaged my attention. A few of the Plates of the first edition have been retained in this one, but the majority are new drawings by Mr. W. Hart of London, made, unless otherwise stated, from specimens in the collection of the Brit Museum. How well Mr. Hart has accomplished his portion of the task, a glance at the beautiful Plates will readily testify. In the plan of the work the method I have been accustomed to adopt in all of my illustrated Monographs has been followed, and it has been my endeavour to include in the text all the information accessible that could be desired either by the ornithologist or casual reader. Errors may have crept in (they generally do), but especial care has been taken to reduce them to a minimum. We cannot, happily for us, all think alike, but wherever I have differed from my brother naturalists my decision has only been formed after careful study and the reasons for my conclusions clearly given."
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Catalogue Of The Passeriformes or Perching Birds In The Collection Of The British Museum

Oligomyodae, or the Families Tyrannidae, Oxyrhamphidae, Pipridae, Cotingidae, Phytotomidae, Philepittidae, Pittidae, Xenicidae, and Eurylaemidae

Catalogue Of The Birds In The British Museum, Volume XIV

Philip Lutley Sclater

26 colour plates: J. Smit

Printed By Order Of The Trustees

Printed by Taylor & Francis


From the introduction:

"My ornithological studies having been principally devoted to South-American Birds, I had little hesitation in acceding to Dr. Gunther's request that I should prepare the Catalogue of the Mesomyodian Passeres in the Collection of the British Museum. Of the thirteen families that belong to this section of the Passerine group, nine are exclusively Neotropical, and these nine families embrace by far the greatest number of specific forms, the four Mesomyodian families as yet recognized in the Old World being comparatively insignificant in point of numbers. My subject was, therefore, sufficiently familiar to me. At the same time some of the groups to be treated of - I may point especially to the Tyrannidae - are universally allowed to be amongst the most difficult portions of the class of Birds for satisfactory determination. I felt, therefore, that in the short time that could necessarily be allowed me for the completion of my task I had no easy duty to perform."
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A Monograph of the Pittidae, or Ant-Thrushes

John Gould

Colour plates: John Gould and W. Hart and others


Only one part of this planned work was issued to subscribers. Some plates for a second part exist. The work was not completed following the authors death in 1881.

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Remarks On Some Lately-Described Pittae, With A Synopsis Of The Family As Now Known

Mr D.G. Elliot

2 color plates (Brachyurus megarhynchus / Brachyurus oreas and Brachyurus bankanus): J.G. Keulemans

Volume 12, Issue 3, pages 408-421



Opening lines:

"Since my monograph of the Pittidae was brought to a conclusion, now over seven years ago, several members of the family have been described as new; and it has occurred to me that a critical review of these, as regards their specific value, together with a comparison between them and those species long known to us, to which many of them bear a very close resemblance, might not be unacceptable to ornithologists. I am much indebted to Mr. Gould, Mr. Swinhoe, and Dr. Schlegel, who have allowed me the use of the types of their species for description in this paper, without which I should not have been able to make the examinations necessary, and arrive at satisfactory conclusions. The species described as new may be enumerated as follows: Pitta oreas, Swinhoe; P. megarhyncha, P. bankana, and P. sanghirana, Schleg.; P. simillima, P. strenua, Gould; P. krefti and P. bertae, Salvadori; and P. digylesi, Kreft. These 1 sball examine in detail."
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Last updated August 2011