Pitta-like Ground-roller Atelornis pittoides


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be common but patchily distributed (del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to Madagascar.


The species occurs in humid evergreen forest in the east, in the Sambirano region of the north-west and on the high plateau, up to 2,000 m (Langrand 1990). It is found mainly in primary forest but there are records from degraded forest and plantations near primary forest. A terrestrial species, it feeds among dead leaves where there is sparse ground cover and takes invertebrates and small chameleons (Langrand 1990).


The ongoing destruction and fragmentation of its forest habitat (for subsistence agriculture), with attendant increased levels of hunting, is likely to intensify in the future.


An elegant terrestrial bird. The head is bright blue on forehead, crown, malar area and in a broad breastband, and blackish specked white above a short white supercilium. The back and wings are greenish, with a whitish patch at the base of the primaries, the underparts orange on the neck and flanks, and white on the throat, breast and belly. The bill is black and the legs pink. Similar spp. Easily distinguished from all other species by the blue on the head. Hints Often in dryer or dense, slightly degraded parts of rainforest, where it may be fairly common though difficult to locate if not calling. Feeds on the ground and sings from a perch 2-5 m up, a monosyllabic whop given once every 5-10 seconds.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Atelornis pittoides. Downloaded from on 26/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/09/2020.