Share our Experience of Birding and Photography
Pitta Tour 2012 Trip Report


This short report is designed to give an overview of the 2012 trips in order to help customers decide if they would like to join future tours.  


The tours

In all, three tours were booked, each slightly different to the others.  The tours ran all through May.


The first tour was booked by a returning customer from Germany who had birded the area before with us but wanted another go at the Pittas. He brought with him a birding friend and two members of the friend’s family who were not really birders but who enjoyed nature. This was a shortened tour of seven days and did not include any time at Bala.


The second tour was booked by another returning customer this time from Australia, as a private photography trip. This customer was principally after “poster” shots of Pittas and Broadbills but enjoyed photographing any other birds along the way.


The third tour consisted of four experienced British birders who wanted to see as many birds as possible, especially the Pittas.



            Whiskered Treeswift - Male            Whiskered Treeswift - Female



Locations visited


As we were principally looking for forest birds, most time was spent in national parks with good primary forest including


Sri Phang Nga NP

Khao Luang NP (Krung Ching)

Khao Phra-Bang Khram WS (KNC)

Hala Bala WS

Krabi, Phang Nga & Yaring mangroves


Sometimes, while en-route, different habitats were visited to give ourselves a chance of seeing a larger variety of birds. This included


Thai Muang beach scrub, marshes and paddy fields

Haat Yao paddy fields



                  Mangrove Pitta                         Green Broadbill - Male                      Blue-winged Pitta




It turned out to be an unlucky year to start our Pitta Tours, probably due to having a very wet "dry season" the resident Pittas seem to have started nesting early and none of them were calling as much as they have done in previous years. The two breeding visitors though arrived on queue and showed well.


Gurney's Pitta - was not heard or seen, it seems the population in Thailand really is on it's last legs with only a few individuals remaining and finding them has turned into needles and haystacks. In this low season we will be investigating the possibility of venturing into Burma for a couple of days on future trips to find the birds there. We will supply more information on this later once we have done our research.


Malayan Banded Pitta - was one fo the birds which was very quiet this year but was found on a small forest trail.


Mangrove Pitta - was fairly easy to find and showed well.


Hooded Pitta - were busy building nests and excellent views were had.


Blue-winged Pitta - were establishing their territories and were constantly calling at the forest edge. They were seen most days when we were in the right habitat.


Garnet Pitta - was easy to find last year and also earlier this year (according to a park ranger) but had gone quiet by the time we visited. Very frustrating as we know they were in the area. I am hopeful we will see it next year.


Giant Pitta - is always a very tricky one as it is very shy and rarely calls. We had no luck with it this year and it will always have to be thought of as a bonus if we do get it.


It was disappointing to only see four of the seven Pittas as last year we found six during the same perion. We were compensated though by seeing plenty of other forest birds, some of them rarer than the Pittas themselves.



        Malaysian Blue-Flycatcher-Male     Malaysian Blue-Flycatcher-Female


Other birds

In all 236 species were seen. The bulk of these were forest birds as the more open area birds tend to be winter visitors and had already left for their breeding grounds.


Highlights included the following.

Malaysian Honeyguide at it's singing station

10 Raptors including Bat Hawk, Oriental Hobby & Black-thighed Falconet

9 Kingfishers including Rufous-collared, Blue-banded, Banded & Oriental Dwarf

2 Trogons

7 Hornbills including Helmeted, Wrinkled & Balck

11 Woodpeckers including Olive-backed, Orange-backed & Rufous Piculet

5 Broadbills including Black-and-Red Broadbill & Dusky Broadbill

Maroon-breasted Philentoma

Crested Jay

19 Bulbuls including Finch's, Cinerous & Scaly-breasted

21 Babblers including Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler & Large Wren-Babbler

Rufous-tailed Shama

9 Flycatchers including Mangrove Blue & Malysian Blue

20 Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds & Spiderhunters



         Rufous-winged Philentoma                 Short-tailed Babbler                     Wallace's Hawk-Eagle

All the photos on this page were taken during the 2012 Pitta Tours.


 Miss Punjapa Phetsri (aka Games)
Site owner and guide.   

Black-and-Red Broadbill
Green Broadbill
Crested Jay
Rhiocerous Hornbill
Rufous Piculet
Malaysian Honeyguide
Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler
Dark-throated Oriole
Oriental Hobby
Blyth's Hawk-Eagle
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
Wrinkled Hornbill
Temminck's Sunbird
White-chested Babbler