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Fairy Bluebirds and Leafbirds: Irenidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Fairy Bluebirds, Leafbirds, And People, Common Iora (aegithina Tiphia): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS


Fairy bluebirds and leafbirds can be found throughout Asia, in southern China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, the Greater Sundas, and in India. Some species have limited distribution such as the Marshall's iora that is found only in tropical Pakistan and northwestern India, or the yellow-throated leafbird that can be found only on the western Philippine island of Palawan and some its tiny satellite islands. The Philippines mark the eastern boundary for these birds.

None of the fairy bluebirds live on the ground or in the undergrowth, but instead strictly inhabit tree canopies of deciduous or coniferous forests, in the higher branches. Some leafbirds do visit gardens regularly. The ioras have a wider range of dwellings and might be found on beaches or mangrove swamps to secondary forests. They are also found in gardens or orchards.

In general, the birds of this family are fruit eaters and nectar-feeders, as in the case of the leafbird, though they also eat insects and spiders, as well as eat small fruits such as the oriental mistletoes. Ioras are known to eat fruit, but tend to hunt in pairs for caterpillars, moths, and spiders, moving quickly from branch to branch, and sometimes even hanging upside down in order to find their prey or feed.

The green iroa, Sumatran blue-masked leafbird, and lesser green leafbird are listed as Near Threatened, in danger of becoming threatened with extinction. The Philippine leafbird is considered Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction, due to forest destruction resulting in loss of habitat. In general, many of the species have suffered some loss of habitat, though minimal, and with a wide distribution they are not threatened on a global level.

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Animal Life ResourceBirds