The Indian pitta is a small stubby-tailed bird that is mostly seen on the floor of forests or under dense undergrowth, foraging on insects in leaf litter. It has long, strong legs, a very short tail and stout bill, with a buff coloured crown stripe, black coronal stripes, a thick black eye stripe and white throat and neck. The upperparts are green, with a blue tail, the underparts buff, with bright red on the lower belly and vent.
Indian pittas breed mainly in the Himalayan foothills from the Margalla hills northern Pakistan in the west to Nepal. They also breed in the hills of central India and in the Western Ghats in Karnataka, India. They migrate to all parts of peninsular India and Sri Lanka in winter. They are rare in the drier regions of India.
They feed on insects and other small invertebrates that they usually pick up from the ground or leaf litter. They have also been noted to take kitchen food scraps from the ground. They breed during June to August. The nest is a globular structure with a circular opening on one side built on the ground or on low branches. It is made up of dry leaves and grasses. The clutch is four to five eggs which are very glossy white and spherical with spots and speckles of deep maroon or purple.
- Islam, K. (1978). “Sightings of the Indian Pitta(Pitta brachyura) in Pakistan”. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 75 (3): 924–925.
- Ali, S.; S. D. Ripley (1983). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. 4 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 252–253.
- Prabhakar, A. (1998) “An Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura) trapped in a standard Sherman live trap”. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 95 (1): 114–115.
- Whistler, H. (1949). Popular Handbook of Indian Birds (4th ed.). Gurney and Jackson. pp. 275–277.
- Rasmussen, P. C.; J. C. Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. pp. 295–296.
- Pande, S. A. (2001). “The Nesting of Pitta brachyura in the Konkan Maharashtra”. Newsletters for Birdwatchers. 41 (4): 48–49.