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Pitta Tour 2013 Trip Report


This short report is designed to give an overview of the 2013 trips in order to help customers decide if they would like to join future tours.  


The tours

In this, our second year of running the Pitta Tours, we had four of our six tours booked.

The first tour was fully booked. Two of the guests we had been guiding in north and central Thailand for eighteen days already. The other two joined us in Phuket for the Pitta Tour. One issue noted on this tour was that with four guests there was little spare room in the car. The tour ran smoothly but could have been more comfortable. We have now changed the pricing strategy on future tours to compensate for this. Please see the Pitta Tour page for details.


The second tour was booked by a couple. On this tour we visited Kaeng Krachan NP in the northern peninsula rather than Bala in the far south. We will be offering this option on future tours so those who would rather not visit the troubled far south can still come along on a tour.

The third tour was booked by a return customer who only had a short wish list. This allowed us to visit some different locations to look for birds rarely seen in Thailand. We were also joined by two other amateur naturalists resident in Thailand which meant we had plenty of expertise on the trip.
The last tour was booked by two guests individually. One from the UK and the other from South Africa.


Black-throated Babbler

Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike

Brown Wood-Owl

Brown-winged Kingfisher

Buff-necked Woodpecker




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 Sok NP

Khao Phra-Bang Khram WS (KNC)

Hala Bala WS

Krabi, Phang Nga, Satun & Yaring mangroves

The following more open areas were also visited
Thai Muang beach, marshes & paddy fields
Nakhon Sri Thammarat paddy fields

Asian Giant Tortoise

Blue Bronzeback Treesnake

Horsfield's Fruit Bat

Masked Spiny Lizard

Oldham's Leaf Turtle



We had an amazing run of good weather this year with only one owling session abandoned to rain. Apart from that we had 40 days of fine dry weather.


Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler

Helmeted Hornbill

Large Wren-Babbler

Long-tailed Broadbill

Malaysian Honeyguide





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 - Although we birded KNC where the species has been seen for the last twenty years, we knew we had little hope of seeing one as there are probably fewer than five left in the area. And so it was. We have hopes for Myanmar in a couple of years when it has settled down a little.


Malayan Banded Pitta - showed well for the first three trips. Heard a few times on the fourth trip but refused to show.


Mangrove Pitta - was seen every time we went for it.


Hooded Pitta - no problem with this one and was seen well on every trip.


Blue-winged Pitta - this is always the easiest in season and was no problem this year.


Garnet Pitta - was absent again. The rangers at Bala are mystified. Three or four pairs were known a couple of years ago but have disappeared. Let's hope they come back.


Giant Pitta - The hardest one to get as it is very shy. A ranger at Bala saw a male two days running a week before our first tour. We tried but had no luck.


Blue Pitta - We heard a few in Kaeng Krachan but could not find any. This bird calls but does not respond well to play back.


Eared Pitta - Another very difficult Pitta. We heard two in Kaeng Krachan which called a lot but wouldn't drop down from the steep ridge they were on.



To be honest, it was a disappointing year for the Pittas as we hoped to get at least one of the difficult ones. It was however a great year for Broadbills and we saw all seven species well. Other rare birds seen were Great Argus, Rail Babbler, Malaysian Honeyguide, Moustached Hawk Cuckoo, Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo and White-headed Munia (perhaps the first seen in Thailand for 10 years).

All photos shown on this page were taken on this year's tours.


Spotted Wood-Owl

Spotted Fantail

Yellow-crowned Barbet

Spiny Hill Turtle

Waiting at dusk for a Bat Hawk



Other birds

In all 332 species were seen or heard. This was a lot more than last year but partly due to our visit to Kaeng Krachan NP.


Highlights included the following.

Malaysian Honeyguide

Great Argus

Bat Hawk

Short-toed Coucal

Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo & Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo
Oriental Bay Owl, Reddish Scops Owl & White-fronted Scops Owl

Red-naped Trogon & Diard's Trogon

Helmeted Hornbill, White-crowned Hornbill, Rhinocerous Hornbill and Black Hornbill

7 Broadbills

12 Kingfishers
15 Woodpeckers

Maroon-breasted Philentoma

Crested Jay

Rail Babbler

21 Bulbuls

32 Babblers 

9 Flycatchers including Mangrove Blue, Malysian Blue & Rufous-chested

21 Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds & Spiderhunters

White-headed Munia



         White-banded Wolfsnake                       Slender Squirrel                     Red-throated Ground Skink


Full bird list
Great Argus Argusianus argus
Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica
Cotton Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Ardea alba
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus
Blyth's Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus alboniger
Wallace's Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus nanus
Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii
Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Lesser Fish Eagle Haliaeetus humilis
Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Watercock Gallicrex cinerea
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii
Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
Little Tern Sternula albifrons
Rock Dove Columba livia
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans
Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra
Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia
Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus
Short-toed Coucal Centropus rectunguis
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
Raffles's Malkoha Rhinortha chlorophaea
Red-billed Malkoha Zanclostomus javanicus
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus
Black-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus diardi
Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus
Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis
Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus dicruroides
Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx vagans
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax
Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
Oriental Bay Owl Phodilus badius
White-fronted Scops Owl Otus sagittatus
Reddish Scops Owl Otus rufescens
Sunda Scops Owl Otus lempiji
Barred Eagle-owl Bubo sumatranus
Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu
Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo
Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Brown Hawk-owl Ninox scutulata
Blyth's Frogmouth Batrachostomus affinis
Great Eared Nightjar Lyncornis macrotis
Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus jotaka
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus
Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis
Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
Black-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus maximus
Germain's Swiftlet Aerodramus germani
Silver-rumped Spinetail Rhaphidura leucopygialis
Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus
Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba
Diard's Trogon Harpactes diardii
Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvaucelii
Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios
Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
Rufous-collared Kingfisher Actenoides concretus
Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis
Brown-winged Kingfisher Pelargopsis amauroptera
Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Blue-banded Kingfisher Alcedo euryzona
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca
Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
Tickell's Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli
Bushy-crested Hornbill Anorrhinus galeritus
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus
Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Rhinoceros Hornbill Buceros rhinoceros
Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil
White-crowned Hornbill Berenicornis comatus
Wreathed Hornbill Rhyticeros undulatus
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
Green-eared Barbet Megalaima faiostricta
Golden-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii
Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos
Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica
Yellow-crowned Barbet Megalaima henricii
Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Brown Barbet Caloramphus fuliginosus
Malaysian Honeyguide Indicator archipelagicus
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla
Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis
Grey-and-buff Woodpecker Hemicircus concretus
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
Banded Woodpecker Chrysophlegma miniaceum
Checker-throated Woodpecker Chrysophlegma mentale
Greater Yellownape Chrysophlegma flavinucha
Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus
Streak-breasted Woodpecker Picus viridanus
Common Flameback Dinopium javanense
Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus
Maroon Woodpecker Blythipicus rubiginosus
Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtipicus validus
Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis
Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki
Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis
Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos
Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae
Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus
Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus
Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus
Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus
Eared Pitta Hydrornis phayrei
Blue Pitta Hydrornis cyaneus
Malayan Banded Pitta Hydrornis irena
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha
Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus
Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus
Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrhoptera
Maroon-breasted Philentoma Philentoma velata
Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Green Iora Aegithina viridissima
Great Iora Aegithina lafresnayei
Lesser Cuckooshrike Coracina fimbriata
Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus
Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala cinerea
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca
Blyth's Shrike-babbler Pteruthius aeralatus
Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus
Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica
Spotted Fantail Rhipidura perlata
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Crested Jay Platylophus galericulatus
Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Rail-Babbler Eupetes macrocerus
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis
Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus
Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea
Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus flaviventris
Scaly-breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus squamatus
Grey-bellied Bulbul Pycnonotus cyaniventris
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Puff-backed Bulbul Pycnonotus eutilotus
Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus
Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus blanfordi
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus
Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmos
Finsch's Bulbul Alophoixus finschii
Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres
Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus
Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger
Buff-vented Bulbul Iole olivacea
Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis
Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus
Rufous-bellied Swallow Cecropis badia
Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata
Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus
Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps
Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos
White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps
Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus
Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps
Grey-headed Babbler Stachyris poliocephala
Chestnut-rumped Babbler Stachyris maculata
Black-throated Babbler Stachyris nigricollis
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera
Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyridopsis rufifrons
Golden Babbler Stachyridopsis chrysaea
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Macronus gularis
Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler Macronus ptilosus
Chestnut-capped Babbler Timalia pileata
Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala
Large Wren-Babbler Napothera macrodactyla
Collared Babbler Gampsorhynchus torquatus
Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti
Horsfield's Babbler Malacocincla sepiaria
Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis
Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre
Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine
Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum
Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum
White-chested Babbler Trichastoma rostratum
Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolor
Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli
Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Everett's White-eye Zosterops everetti
Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis
Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis
Great Myna Acridotheres grandis
Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Rufous-tailed Shama Trichixos pyrropygus
Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias olivaceus
Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias umbratilis
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa latirostris
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni
Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
Malaysian Blue Flycatcher Cyornis turcosus
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati
Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus maculatus
Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Red-throated Sunbird Anthreptes rhodolaemus
Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum
Van Hasselt's Sunbird Leptocoma brasiliana
Copper-throated Sunbird Leptocoma calcostetha
Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
Thick-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera crassirostris
Long-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta
Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys
Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera modesta
Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Plain-backed Sparrow Passer flaveolus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata
Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla
White-headed Munia Lonchura maja
Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus
Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus

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

Banded Kingfisher - female
Oriental Bay Owl
Black Hornbill
Black-naped Monarch
Buff-rumped Woodpecker
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha
Crimson Sunbird
Crimson-winged Woodpecker
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher
Maroon-breasted Philentoma
Red-naped Trogon
Ruddy Kingfisher
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Silver-breasted Broadbill