Eared Pitta is one of the most sought-after birds in Thailand and also a very tough one to find. It does not seem to call very often and I find it mostly unresponsive to call playback; one of the best ways to find it is to walk quietly through the forest and listen for it foraging in the leaf litter, with luck one can detect it by ear and walk close enough to get a view as it seems to be fairly tolerant of human activity.
A few days ago this is exactly what we did on the nature trail which begins at park headquarters, Khao Yai, and around the halfway point on the trail we located a pair of Eared Pittas which we were able to view and I was able to follow them through the forest obtaining one of the worst photos of an Eared Pitta ever taken – at least it is better than no photo!
Eared Pitta by Nick Upton
The only other Pitta detected in three days at Khao Yai was another Eared Pitta which called twice on the Km 33 trail at around 5.15pm but did not respond to call playback. Blue Pitta, which is fairly common at Khao Yai, was silent everywhere we looked for it.