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Gurney's Pitta Images
The Gurney's Pitta, Pitta gurneyi, is a medium-sized passerine bird. It breeds in the Malay Peninsula, with populations in Thailand and, especially, Burma. This beautiful bird has a blue crown and black-and-yellow underparts. The rest of the head is black, and it has warm brown upperparts. The female has a brown crown and buffy-whitish underparts. The name of this bird commemorates the English ornithologist John Henry Gurney. It eats slugs and worms.
Gurney's Pitta is endangered. It was initially thought to be extinct for some time after 1952, but was rediscovered in 1986. Its rarity has been caused by the clearance of natural forest in southern Burma and peninsular Thailand. Its population was estimated at a mere nine pairs in 1997, then believed one of the rarest bird species on earth. A search for it in Burma in 2003 was successful and discovered that the species persisted at four sites with a maximum of 10-12 pairs at one location. This granted the species a reassessment from the IUCN, going from Critically Endangered to Endangered. Later on, further research completed in Burma by 2009 provides strong evidence that its global population is much greater than previously estimated, owning to the discovery of several new territories in this country This rare and spectacularly-colored bird was recently voted the "most wanted bird in Thailand" by bird watchers visiting that country. The Gurney's Pitta diet is slugs, insects, and earthworms.