The name Pitta comes from the Telugu word meaning "small bird". Local names in India are based on the colours and their behaviours such as the time of calling and these include Hindi: Naorang, Punjabi: Nauranga (=Nine colours), Bengali: Shumcha, Cachar: Dao bui yegashi, Gujarati: Navaranga or Hariyo; Tamil: Arumani kuruvi (=6-OClock bird), Kathu-alechi (=Wind blown), Thotta kalla; Telugu: Polanki pitta, Ponnangi pitta; Malayalam: Kavi; Kannada: Navaranga and Sinhalese: Avichchiya.
Indian Pittas breed mainly in the Himalayan foothills from northern Pakistan in the west (Margalla hills) to at least Nepal and possibly up to Sikkim in the east. They also breed in the hills of central India and in the Western Ghats south until Belgaum and Goa. They migrate to all parts of peninsular India and Sri Lanka in winter. Exhausted birds may turn up inside homes. They are rare in the dry parts of the country.