The Indian Pitta, Pitta brachyura, is a medium-sized passerine bird. It breeds mainly in the sub-Himalayas and winters in southern India and Sri Lanka.
The Indian Pitta is a small stocky 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 colored 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. The bird normally hops on the ground. They roost in trees.
It is more often heard than seen and has a distinctive two-note whistle wheeet-tieu or wieet-pyou or sometimes, a triple note hh-wit-wiyu. They have a habit of calling once or twice at dawn or dusk leading to their common name of "Six-O-Clock" bird in Tamil. When calling the head is thrown back and the bill is pointed upwards.
The breeding season is during the Southwest Monsoon, June to August and the nest is globular structure with a circular opening on one side. It is made up of dry leaves and grasses. The nests are on the ground or on low branches. The clutch is of four to five eggs which are very spherical and very white with spots and speckles of deep maroon or purple. The egg is very glossy. Breeds in the Himalayan foothills from near Islamabad to Central Nepal and in Central and Western India. Some records of breeding are noted from as far south as the Goa region.
They migrate to all parts of peninsular India and Sri Lanka in winter. Exhausted birds may turn up inside homes. They are rare in the dry parts of the country.
The name Pitta comes from the Telugu word meaning "small bird". Local names include Hindi: Naorang, Punjabi: Nauranga (=Nine colours), Bengali: Shumcha, Cachar: Dao bui yegashi, Gujarati: Navaranga or Hariyo; Tamil: Arumani kuruvi (=6-OClock bird), Kathu-alechi (=Wind blown), Thotta kalla; Telugu: Polanki pitta, Ponnangi pitta; Malayalam: Kavi; Kannada: Navaranga and Sinhalese: Avichchiya.
Avian malaria parasites have been noted in the species.