Pitta anerythra 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Pittidae

Scientific Name: Pitta anerythra
Species Authority: Rothschild, 1901
Common Name(s):
English Black-faced Pitta, Solomons Pitta
Taxonomic Notes:

Identification information: 15 cm. Typical pitta with prominent sky-blue wing-coverts. Bright green upperparts, warm buff underparts. Black mask encircles face and variably across forehead. Similar spp. No other pitta is known from the range but vagrant Hooded Pitta P. sordida and Noisy Pitta P. versicolor are possible. Voice Single or double rasping tooyiii. Hints Very wary. Calls from high perches.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Bishop, K., Dutson, G., Gibbs, D., Hafe, M. & Iles, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A.
The conservation status of this species is not well understood. It has been categorised as Vulnerable on the basis of its very small known population. Further research may show the population to be even smaller or to be declining, in which case it would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category. Although it is a secretive species, negative reports from two of the three islands where it occurs are likely to be valid as it has a distinctive call (apparently given year-round) and, where it does occur, it is well-known to local people on account of its beauty.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pitta anerythra is endemic to Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and Choiseul and Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands. It was formerly reasonably common, at least on Bougainville, where 40 specimens were collected before 1938 (Erritzoe and Erritzoe 1998). It was then not recorded until 1994 when it was found to be fairly common at Tirotonga on Santa Isabel (Gibbs 1996), with up to three birds heard calling simultaneously (Gibbs in litt 1994, Gibbs 1996, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998). Searches and interviews on Choiseul and Bougainville (until the island became closed to visitors) have been unsuccessful (Gibbs in litt 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1997, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998). There are unconfirmed reports from Kolombangara and Vangunu (Buckingham et al. 1995, M. Iles verbally 1998); although these islands neighbour Choiseul, they are in a different biogeographic subregion and thus this species is unlikely to breed there.

Countries occurrence:
Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 13200
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  There are no data on population trends; however, it has not been found on two (out of three) islands within its range so it may have declined overall.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 250-999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: At Tirotonga, it is found in primary forest, and also small forest remnants and regrowth thickets within a patchwork of gardens between 400-600 m. Here it is more common in the secondary thickets of the gardened areas and less common in large tracts of primary forest. Two nests found in 1998 were in tiny fragments of closed-canopy forest next to gardens and thickets, one in 1999 was in primary forest (M. Hafe verbally 1998, 1999). In the 1920s and 1930s, the Whitney expeditions found this species in forested mountain valleys and coastal and alluvial plains (Rothschild and Hartert 1905, Mayr 1945).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 4.2
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): At Tirotonga, it occurs beside settlements with cats, dogs and rats which may indicate that it is not susceptible to introduced mammalian predators (Gibbs in litt 1994, Gibbs 1996, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998, M. Hafe verbally 1998, 1999). However, the lack of recent records from Bougainville and Choiseul is concerning (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1997). It may have a very patchy distribution or it may have declined severely away from Tirotonga. Some of the historical specimens were taken in alluvial valleys (Mayr 1945) and this habitat is threatened by the extensive logging of lowland forests.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
An ecotourism facility proposed for Tirotonga will help to underline the importance of conserving this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Search for this species away from Tirotonga with the aid of tape-recordings. Survey Bougainville once the island opens to research. Interview inland villagers across its range. Monitor numbers calling around Tirotonga. Map occurrences around Tirotonga in relation to forest-types. Investigate basic ecology at Tirotonga. Aid establishment and marketing of ecotourism at Tirotonga. Initiate public awareness programmes, initially on Santa Isabel.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Pitta anerythra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22698703A38271585. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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