Why in news?
In a first-ever census of mangrove pitta birds carried out in two coastal districts of Odisha, 179 such birds were sighted. Mangrove pitta birds are a nearly threatened species found in few pockets of eastern India, including Odisha’s Bhitarkanika and West Bengal’s Sundarbans.
- The mangrove pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) is a species of passerine bird in the family Pittidae native to the eastern Indian Subcontinent and western Southeast Asia.
- It is part of a superspecies where it is placed with the Indian pitta, the fairy pitta and the blue-winged pitta but has no recognized subspecies.
- A colourful bird, it has a black head with brown crown, white throat, greenish upper parts, buff underparts and reddish vent area.
- Its range extends from India to Malaysia and Indonesia. It is found in mangrove and nipa palm forests where it feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and insects.
- Its call, sometimes rendered as wieuw-wieuw, is sung from a high perch on a mangrove tree.
- The mangrove pitta is native to the countries of: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand (primarily the west coast of the southern Thai peninsula).
- Its natural habitat is specialised and restriction to subtropical or tropical mangrove forests and Nipa palm stands.
- It is threatened by habitat loss. Its diet consists of crustaceans, mollusks and terrestrial insects.