It inhabits scrub jungle, deciduous and dense evergreen forest. Breeding in the forests of the Himalayas, hills of central and western India, they migrate to other parts of the peninsula in winter. Although very colourful, they are usually shy and hidden in the undergrowth where the hop and pick insects on the forest floor. They have a distinctive two note whistling call which may be heard at dawn and dusk.
The Indian pitta is a small stubby-tailed bird that is mostly seen on the floor of forests or under dense undergrowth, foraging on insects in leaf litter. It has long, strong legs, a very short tail and stout bill, with a buff coloured crown stripe, black coronal stripes, a thick black eye stripe and white throat and neck. The upperparts are green, with a blue tail, the underparts buff, with bright red on the lower belly and vent.