Thursday, 10 February 2011

Asian fairy-bluebird

Irena puella

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Irenidae

These birds are found from the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal and north-east India, into Bangladesh, southern China and Myanmar. Also throughout Indochina, and south to Sumatra, Borneo and the Palawan archipelago of the Philippines. There is a disjunct population along the western coast of India and in Sri Lanka.

They are 25 cm long and weigh 56-76 g.

Asian fairy-bluebirds are in the canopies and understorey of lowland dry forests from sea level up to 1.900 m. they are mostly found in mature forests, but also in secondary forests. They are less common in swamp forests, and in the higher parts of mountain forests.

These birds are mostly frugivorous, often taking the fruits of Ficus trees. They also take the fruits of Simarubacea, Burseraceae and Anacardiaceae. They are also known to raid coffee plantations for coffee berries and will occasionally hunt arthropods.

The Asian fairy-bluebird mostly breeds in February-June. The nest is a tidy open cup of rootlets and twigs camouflaged with moss, usually placed in a sapling or thin bushes deep in the forest, usually about 6-7 m above the ground. The female lays 2 greenish-white eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. the chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-13 days after hatching.


IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although the global population size is yet to be quantified, this species is described as common throughout its very large breeding range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation as well as hunting pressure, but the species is not considered threatened at present.

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