Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Malayan banded pitta

Hydrornis irena, Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller, 1776

(In Thai: นกแต้วแล้วลาย)

The Malayan banded pitta (Hydrornis irena) is a species of bird in the family Pittidae. Other common names include the blue-tailed pitta, the Irene's pitta, the banded pitta and the Van den Bosch's pitta. It is found in Thailand, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. It was formerly considered conspecific with the Bornean and Javan banded pittas, together they were referred to as the banded pitta, but now they are considered to be separate species.


At one time the Malayan banded pitta, the Bornean banded pitta, and the Javan banded pitta were all considered to be variants of a single species. However, they were divided into three separate species by Rheindt and Eaton in 2010, based on analysis of morphological, behavioural, and vocal differences.


This colourful bird has a black head with a yellow/orange streak above the eye, an orange-red nape, a lemon-yellow throat, a chest barred with orange and dark blue (more orange towards the sides and more blue towards the centre), and a blue belly. The back is brown and the tail is blue.

Distribution and habitat

The Malayan banded pitta is native to tropical south-eastern Asia where its range includes Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra. It typically inhabits primary lowland evergreen forests, including swamp forests, but can occur at altitudes of up to 1500 m -3. It also occurs in secondary forest, but may not persist well in this environment. Its diet is mainly insects and fruits.


The Malayan banded pitta is common in some places but scarce in others where its forest habitat is degraded by logging and conversion into agricultural land. With much of the primary forest lost in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, it is uncommon in these locations. It is also targeted for the illegal cage-bird trade and populations are declining; for these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being "near threatened".

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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Resident or presumed resident

Scientific classification

Hydrornis irena

Common names

  • Thai: นกแต้วแล้วลาย


  • Pitta irena irena, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1836

  • Pitta irena ripleyi, Herbert Girton Deignan, 1946


  • Pitta guajana, BirdLife International (2004)
  • Pitta guajana, Charles Gald Sibley & Burt Leavelle Monroe (1990)
  • Hydrornis irena, Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1836)

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (BirdLife)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (ONEP)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (BCST)

Range Map

Distribution map of Malayan banded pitta, Hydrornis irena in Thailand
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • San Kala Khiri National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
Range map of Hydrornis irena in Thailand