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Saving Gurney's Pitta and its forest habitats in Thailand and Myanmar

Gurney's pitta was thought to be confined to one tiny forest patch in southern Thailand, until its dramatic rediscovery in Myanmar in 2003. RSPB is now coordinating efforts to save the Thai population from extinction and to secure long term safeguards for the much larger population in Myanmar. The problems the species faces are commercial logging and the loss of forest to oil palm.

Project objectives

  • To support the implementation of the Gurney's pitta Species Recovery Plan
  • To support efforts to protect large areas of lowland forest in southern Myanmar

Key dates so far

  • Loss of forest halted in Thailand and population stabilised
  • Research on the species' population, distribution and ecology undertaken in Myanmar and Thailand
  • Training of researchers and conservationists in both countries

Work planned or underway

The next stage is to seek funding to secure the future of reforestation efforts in southern Thailand and to secure the protection of the proposed Lenya National Park in Myanmar


The population in southern Thailand, while very small, has at least been stabilised after decades of decline, and efforts to reverse the loss of forest are in place. A tree nursery has been established and reforestation plots planted. In Myanmar, the distribution and population of the species is far better understood and this information will feed into efforts to secure the protection of large forest areas.

Who to contact

Dr Paul Donald
Principal Conservation Scientist


Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST), Oriental Bird Club, Department of National Parks (Thailand), Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (Myanmar), BirdLife Indochina Programme, Forrest Restoration Research Unit at Chiang Mai University (Thailand)


The Darwin Initiative of the UK Government & Oriental Bird Club