Pittas are a family, Pittidae, of passerine birds mainly found in tropical Asia and Australasia, although a couple of species live in Africa. Pittas are all similar in general structure and habits, and have often been placed in a single genus, although as of 2009 they are now split into three genera, Pitta, Erythropitta and Hydrornis. The name is derived from the word pitta in the Telugu language of Andhra Pradesh in India and is a generic local name used for all small birds. Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards, at 15 to 25 cm (5.9–9.8 in) in length, and stocky, with strong, longish legs and long feet. They have very short tails and stout, slightly decurved bills. Many, but not all, have brightly coloured plumage.
These are fairly terrestrial birds of wet forest floors. They eat snails, insects and similar invertebrate prey. Pittas are mostly solitary and lay up to six eggs in a large spherical nest in a tree or shrub, or sometimes on the ground. Both parents care for the young. Many species of pittas are migratory, and they often end up in unexpected places like house-gardens during migration.
A number of species of pitta are threatened with extinction. One of these, the Gurney’s pitta, is listed as endangered by the IUCN, a further eight species are listed as vulnerable. The main threat to pittas is habitat loss in the form of rapid deforestation.