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24 January 2015

Fairy Pitta

Fairy Pitta (八色鳥)
South Korea (2014)

28th November, 2014. Gwanghwamun

This beautiful pitta qualifies as Vulnerable because its population is suspected to be in rapid decline owing to deforestation in its breeding range, principally for agriculture and timber, locally compounded by trapping for the cagebird trade.

Fairy Pitta breeds in north-east Asia in Japan, South Korea, mainland China and Taiwan, and winters mainly on the island of Borneo, in east Malaysia, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia. It has been recorded on passage in northern Taiwan, North Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong (China) and, most recently, Thailand. It appears to be localised in its breeding range, but occurs at relatively high densities at some localities. Preliminary estimates based on playback surveys by the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute suggest that up to 2,000 individuals may breed in Taiwan. Survey effort in Jiangxi, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces, China, has identified a number of new locations. Overall, its population is unlikely to be more than a few thousand individuals and it is thought to be declining, although the Japanese Ministry of Environment report in 2004 shows that it was recorded in a greater number of survey squares during 1997-2002 distributional surveys of Japanese animals compared with their 1974-1978 figures. The total population is likely to fall between 3,000 and 5,000 individuals.