(lamingtonnationalpark.net.au is under new management, this article previously appeared on the old website and was not written by the new site owners.)


Size:175 – 200mm.

Identification: The top of the head is chestnut with a black central streak. The rest of the head and neck are black. The back is green with a torquiose stripe on the shoulders. The breast and belly is a yellowish buff or light tan-brown. The tail and flight feathers are black with the centre of the lower belly and undertail being a shade of red.

Call/Song: The noisy pitta has a loud, tuneful whistle. Resembling the sound ‘walk-to-work’, the first note is low in pitch and the last is higher and slightly drawn out. This call is usually repeated twice. At night particularly, the noisy pitta will also give a single, mournful ‘keow’.

Other Common Names:
Anvil-bird, bobtail, buff-breasted pitta, dragon-bird, lesser pitta, painted ‘thruch’


Eastern coast of Australia, from the top of Cape York Penisula in Queensland down to the northern regions of Victoria.

Habitat: The noisy pitta dwells predominantly in rainforests, but occasionally found in drier forest areas.


Feeding: The noisy pitta forages for food on the forest floor and eats insects, woodlice, worms, snails, other small animals as well as berries and fruit. Snails are held in the pitta’s beak and struck repeatedly against a stone until the shell is broken.

Breeding/Nesting: This bird generally breeds between the months of October and January. It builds a nest using materials such as sticks, leaves, bark, roots and moss, on or near the ground, in root butresses or on tree stumps. It lays three or four eggs.

Movement: Having an upright posture, the noisy pitta characteristically flicks its tail and bobs its head as it forages for food. If approached, it will turn its back to danger and crouch slightly. It peers back over its shoulder, cocks its tail and spreads its wings.

Local Information

Distribution: From any walking tracks through the rainforest. The pitta is not an easy bird to observe as it stays just out of sight – the best chance is walking quietly and slowly.

Abundance: Common in Spring and Summer. Most leave the rainfoest during Autumn although the occassional individual is present through Autumn and Winter.


Queensland Museum (1995) Wildlife of Greater Brisbane, Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

Reader’s Digest Services (1979) Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds, Surry Hills, NSW.

Nielsen, Lloyd (1991) Birds of Lamington National Park and Environs, Canungra, Queensland.