email a friend
printable version
Blue-headed Pitta Pitta baudii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Given its apparent restriction to lowland forest in an area that has suffered extremely rapid destruction of this habitat as a result of conversion to agriculture following commercial logging and uncontrolled fire, this species is suspected to have undergone rapid population declines that are likely to continue. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

17 cm. Medium-sized, brightly coloured, forest-dwelling pitta. Male with glittering blue crown, black cheeks, rich reddish-brown mantle, black wings marked with white and blue tail. White throat, rest of underparts deep violet-blue. Female has rich fulvous-buff crown and upperparts and buffy cheeks to vent. Similar spp. Several sympatric pittas are similar in shape and habits, but all lack the combination of blue crown and reddish mantle. Voice Soft, descending, trisyllabic whistle ppor-wi-iil, sometimes disyllablic.

Distribution and population
Pitta baudii occurs throughout the lowlands of Borneo, in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001). Although sometimes locally common, its population is fragmented, being confined to extreme lowland forest on level ground. The species has undoubtedly declined owing to extensive deforestation of lowlands within its range.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Rates of forest loss in the Bornean lowlands have been extremely rapid (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998), thus this species's population is suspected to be in rapid decline.

It is largely restricted to mature, lowland evergreen forest (including regenerating selectively logged forest and old secondary forest), usually extending upslope to 600 m, rarely to 1,200 m. While it occurs in secondary forest, it appears to be most abundant in, and possibly reliant on, primary habitat. It generally keeps to dense cover.

Loss of low-altitude dryland forest is the primary threat to this species. Kalimantan as a whole lost 90,000 km2 of this habitat in the period 1985-1997, representing just under 25% of its 1985 cover, because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998). Furthermore, protected areas are by no means exempt: Gunung Palung National Park, for example, has been 80% hand-logged in recent years. The scale of lowland deforestation and destruction throughout Borneo, due to logging, drought and fire, suggests that the overall population of this species continues to decline precipitously.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas: Gunung Palung and Tanjung Puting National Parks, Kalimantan, as well as Sepilok (Sabah), Ulu Barito, Tabin, Samunsam, Gunung Lotung/Malimau and Gunung Mulu Reserves. The degree of protection that these designations actually offer is not known but law enforcement is required. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey lowland forest throughout Borneo to clarify the range, status and ecological requirements of this species, and assess the scale of threats that it faces. Formulate a management strategy for birds largely reliant on lowland forest in the Sundaic region. Promote the effective management of existing protected areas and the expansion of the protected-area network in Borneo. Lobby for reduced logging of lowland forests. Ensure that existing protected areas are adequately protected.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J., Tobias, J., Allinson, T

Davison, G., van Balen, B., Yong, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pitta baudii. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Blue-headed pitta (Pitta baudii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Pittidae (Pittas)
Species name author Müller & Schlegel, 1845
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 608,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species