The melampittas are a family, Melampittidae, of New Guinean birds containing two enigmatic species. The two species are found in two genera, the greater melampitta in the genus Megalampitta and the lesser melampitta in the genus Melampitta. They are little studied and before being established as a family in 2014 their taxonomic relationships with other birds were uncertain, being considered at one time related variously to the pittas, Old World babblers and birds-of-paradise.
These are small to medium-sized birds with black plumage, strong legs and short, rounded wings. Mostly terrestrial, they live in montane forest. The greater melampitta has more specific habitat needs, roosting and nesting in limestone sinkholes. Insects and small vertebrates are taken from the forest leaf litter. Little is known about their breeding behaviour, with only the nests of the lesser melampitta having been seen by scientists. Both species are considered to be safe from extinction.
The melampittas are birds of the New Guinean rainforest and are generally montane species as well, with the range of the lesser melampitta reaching as high as 3,500 m (11,500 ft), with a usual range of around 2,000 to 2,800 m (6,600–9,200 ft). The greater melampitta is restricted to areas of rugged limestone karst with sinkholes that it apparently roosts and even nests in. In the Kumawa Mountains Jared Diamond found that that species inhabited a range of 650 to 1,400 m (2,130–4,590 ft). Both species have a discontinuous distribution across New Guinea, and the greater melampitta is generally a rare bird that is seldom encountered, although this may because it lives in rarely-visited areas.