During our three weeks of birding in Singapore we spent many hours on forest trails. We had hoped that during our visit we may encounter a Blue-winged Pitta. After the sad story of the Fairy Pitta in Broome just prior to our departure it made it even more special when we did encounter not one, but several. The most reliable place we found for observing Blue-winged Pittas in Singapore was at Windsor Nature Park.

Windsor Nature Park is easily accessible by public transport and there are several walk trails of varying length. There are over twenty kilometres of forest trails in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. In areas that may get muddy they have installed boardwalks, so you can still access the forest even after heavy rain.

Blue-winged Pittas can easily be overlooked in dense forest and you may not be able to see the bird in the header photograph above. Once I crop the photo for you there is a patch of blue and there you have a Blue-winged Pitta. When the leaf litter is damp you won’t hear any leaf rustling, so you are entirely dependent on a little bit of colourful movement. On one of our hikes in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve we encountered three Blue-winged Pittas quite some distance apart. We never saw the birds fly at all. The Blue-winged Pittas would hop off into the dense forest when they felt threatened.

Blue-winged Pitta cropped from the header photo

There was one individual Blue-winged Pitta that was almost a celebrity bird at Windsor Nature Park on the Venus Loop Trail. The Blue-winged Pitta was often very close to the boardwalk and to any photographer with a large camera and a long lens it was just too close! It must be one of the most photographed Blue-winged Pittas in Singapore! We also stopped to observe and photograph this celebrity bird on our visits to the area!

Blue-winged Pitta hopping about in the mud feeding

Blue-winged Pitta posing for photographers!

All of these photos of the celebrity Blue-winged Pitta cover most angles! You may have noticed that at some stage this Blue-winged Pitta had received an individual metal band to its right tarsus. We don’t know the origin of this metal band and we were not able to decipher the numbers engraved on it due to the muddy environment. However, it was most likely banded within close proximity to the area where we were photographing it.

If you get a chance to go birding in Singapore you need to keep an eye out in the forests for the odd flash of blue among the leaf litter! You may get a chance to observe a Blue-winged Pitta!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!