This usually silent and shy ground dweller becomes true to its name in spring, repeatedly calling its loud ‘walk-to-work’ whistle as it busily scratches among the leaf litter. In spring and summer they are easy to locate by their noisy nature and are a splendid splash of colour in the gloom of the forest floor. The pitta uses a rock, or hard wooden ‘anvil’, to break open the shells of snails – its favourite food. The pitta is locally migratory, moving to the coast in winter.
(Illustration by Jane Thompson)