How to photograph a rainbow pitta

The rainbow pitta is a stunning bird found in some parts of Kakadu National Park. It’s one that twitchers are often looking for and as a result it’s great to be able to get a picture. But I’m not going to lie – this can be a difficult task.

Step 1. Find an area where they can be seen. I suggest the Manngarre rainforest walk along the East Alligator River as a nice easy one to start.

Step 2. Change into comfortable clothing – camouflage is recommended. Bring an impossibly expensive camera with a ridiculously long lens.

Step 3. Locate a spot with lots of leaf litter – a place where they might rummage for food.

Step 4. Remain in position very quietly despite the repeated attacks from the millions of mosquitoes surrounding you.

Step 5. After many hours a rainbow pitta may appear.

Step 6. Get the shot!

Step 7. Be disappointed when you realise that the photo didn’t work out because of bad lighting, movement of the camera, subject moving too fast, etc.

Step 8. Repeat.

So, why bother? Good question! This image is one reason to put yourself through all of that effort. It really is worth it in the end!

Kristen Sierke, Seasonal ranger, Kakadu National Park

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