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Fairy Bluebirds and Leafbirds: Irenidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Both ioras and fairy bluebirds roam in flocks. As a rule, they do so with other species. Fairy bluebirds associate with birds that include feeding fruit pigeons and bulbuls. Ioras associate with those of a similar size that are also insect eaters. Leafbirds are also nomadic except during the breeding season, but usually travel in smaller groups or pairs. They are known for their aggression toward other birds and are gifted with the ability to mimic other species.

All three of these groups of birds are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), meaning that they have only one partner during the breeding season, and also exercise territorial rights during that time. They exhibit differences in the months they breed, varying with location. The common iora nests from May to September, Marshall's iora only breeds from June to August in the drier ranges of Pakistan and northwest India.

Ioras have a mating ritual during which the male becomes a brightly colored vision in contrast to his normal state of being inconspicuous. The male begins by chasing the female, then perches with his wings lowered and proceeds to fluff up his lower back feathers. The male then lifts the tail and gives its call, which consists of hissing sounds. It jumps back and forth above its perch with the white back feathers fluffed, and then goes back to its perch slowly in a spiral while making a sound like a cricket or tree frog.

Fairy bluebirds build their nests at least 16.5 feet (5 meters) up in the forks of trees and the lower canopy. It is a rough sort of platform made of long, thick twigs hidden with a cover of roots and moss, with an open cup formed in the middle for the eggs. The clutch is two or three eggs that are greenish white to olive-gray, with brown splotches, and a grayish purple often coming together into a cap over the wide end of the egg. Observations have indicated that only the female builds the nest, though both male and female parents feed the young.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsFairy Bluebirds and Leafbirds: Irenidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Fairy Bluebirds, Leafbirds, And People, Common Iora (aegithina Tiphia): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS