The Holy Grail of African Birding ~ An African Pitta selects an unusually open perch from which to display in its lowland forest habitat in Coutada 11, Mozambique.
The main focus of my trip to Mungari Camp in Coutada 11 was to find and photograph the exquisite African Pitta. We located the Pitta on our very first morning (only 2 kilometers from camp) and had saturated views as well as full frame photographs.
After seeing the Pitta for the previous two mornings, the small group I was with (led by John Robinson of Robinson Birding) decided to try their luck in the nearby Miombo Woodlands of Coutada 11. Instead of joining them, I asked to be dropped off in the “Pitta” forest, which was only 2 kilometres from camp, and walk back once I was done. I hoped that I could relocate the bird, spend some alone time with it and if luck would have it capture a “habitat shot” i.e. an image that showed off the bird and its environment.
After walking no more than a few hundred metres I spotted this exquisite species hopping on the forest floor. Instead of trying to approach it, I plonked myself down on the narrow forest path and silently watched it. It moved slowly towards me jumping on various roots and branches as it closed the gap between us. After getting within a few paces it selected this branch as a lookout point and allowed me to capture a number of full frame images. It then proceeded to climb higher into the canopy and display directly above my head.
The first image on this page captures the bird in its lowland forest environment, and given my passion for this type of photography is my favourite photograph and memory of the trip.