Pittas are among the most delightful and highly prized birds on earth. Not only are they exquisite, but their typically elusive nature goes a long way in adding to their allure. Comprising 33 species, they are predominantly located in the forests of South East Asia, with habitat loss sadly threatening the numbers and even existence of several species. Falling into the latter category is the critically endangered Gurney’s Pitta, a species that was actually considered extinct for many years before being rediscovered in 1986 in the lowland rainforest of southern Thailand. A few years after this rediscovery more birds were located in the Thanintharyi Forest in neighbouring Myanmar (Burma), however difficult access to the area has meant that the Myanmar population has been out of bounds. Unfortunately very little habitat has been saved in southern Thailand and Gurney’s Pitta is now sadly on the brink of extinction there, with apparently just one female remaining. Myanmar therefore offers the only realistic opportunity of seeing this gorgeous bird, and is THE only place where it is possible to view the particularly beautiful males.
It is with this in mind that we are very excited to now offer a short extension to our popular Myanmar tour in search of this near-mythical species! In fact, our extension is in many ways a pioneering trip into the remote and little-explored Thanintharyi Forest, an area that was for many years off limits to foreigners. While the Gurney’s Pitta is obviously our prime target, other special species we will be searching for include the extremely rare Plain-pouched Hornbill, a variety of other pittas (Malayan Banded, Garnet, Blue-winged, Rusty-naped and Hooded), Banded and Rufous-collared Kingfisher, stunning Red-bearded Bee-eater, Crested Jay, Black Magpie, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Crested Fireback, Helmeted Hornbill and Great Slaty Woodpecker.
This extension follows on from our Myanmar – Endemics of Remote Asia tour, which targets all of Myanmar’s endemic birds along with a host of very sought-after species, including White-browed Nuthatch, Mount Victoria Babax, Chin Hills Wren-Babbler, Collared Myna, Black-headed Greenfinch, Burmese Yuhina, and a chance for the uber-rare Blyth’s Tragopan!
If this sounds tempting and you would like to find out more about these departures, which still have limited spaces available and will be led by one of the region’s foremost bird guides – Glen Valentine, please click on the links below or contact our office.