Giant Pitta Hydrornis caeruleus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is scarce and patchily distributed within its range, and is likely to have a moderately small global population, which is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly as a result of deforestation throughout much of its range. It is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as scarce to rare.

Trend justification
This species is likely to be declining in line with rates of forest clearance throughout its range.

Distribution and population

Pitta caerulea occurs in the Sundaic lowlands, from south Tenasserim, Myanmar, peninsular Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and Sumatra (not recorded this century), Indonesia and Brunei (BirdLife International 2001). It is scarce or rare throughout its range, although it may be overlooked due to its shy nature. It occurs at low densities, even in optimal habitat (BirdLife International 2001, Yong Ding Li in litt. 2011).


This species occurs mainly in primary and tall secondary forests in lowlands and hills, up to 1,200 m. It is most often found in dense, swampy areas, although there are records from overgrown rubber estates, scrub and secondary thickets. Little is known of its precise habitat requirements.


Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid, owing partly to the escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas. Forest fires have also had a damaging effect (particularly in 1997-1998). The expansion of oil-palm cultivation is an increasing threat (Yong Ding Li in litt. 2011). The magnitude of these threats may be allayed by this species's tolerance of hill forest, which is under less pressure from logging and agricultural conversion. Poaching is said to be a potential threat in parts of peninsular Thailand (Yong Ding Li in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species, although it occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Conduct repeated surveys across the species's range to determine the magnitude of declines and rates of range contraction. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.


Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Benstead, P., Taylor, J., Wheatley, H.

Yong, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Hydrornis caeruleus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2021.