Malaysian Birds - Iora

From the family of Aegithinidae. The Iora is a small and robust bird found across the tropical area and within this family have birds showing plumage variations. They are stout-billed and fairly short tail. The 3 different species found in Malaysia, each differently preferring scrub, dense forest and forest edges. One thing in common among them, their presence easily detected by their loud whistles and then on following through - spotting the birds due to its bright colored plumage. This could only happen if the birds get away from the safety of the thick foliages. The Common Iora seen most often has a large repertoire of calls.

Ioras are insectivorous, have the impression that they would get more insects staying on the top of leaves. So it is assumed that they are at the canopy all the time but not really. It does scout under leaves as well that's why some times the bird is seen hanging upside down from the branches. Then it also catches insects on the wing. Iora can be rated as a very active bird and usually hunt as a pair, calling and feeding the whole time.

One scene not seen by many people and also in special occasions is their mating rituals. Special features of the ritual would be the males would fluffing up their feathers and then in that state do an acrobatic act of spiraling in the air. The whole scene enhanced by its brightly colored plumage is that of a floating ball. On returning to its original perch, he takes up a nice posture which is also seen done by many birds i.e. has the wings spread and drooping his tail.

For nesting materials, another bird that has selected cobwebs to bind the pieces of grasses he has collected to form a uniform cup secured at the forked branch. Both male and female participated in the hatching and fledging process which normally takes 14 days for hatching and another 11 days before the chick is fledged.

Worldwide there are 4 species and we in Malaysia are having 3 of them. One of them, the Common Iora is even a bird of the public park which we get to see sometimes  in our garden as well.


  1. Common Iora


  2. Great Iora


  3. Green Iora



The 3 Ioras are all lowland birds, with the exception of the Great Iora, the other two Ioras are quite easy to meet up with. The Great Iora unlike the other 2 birds hardly calls or calls much less frequent. This odd habit makes the spotting of this bird moving swiftly in the canopy more challenging.

 Return to Malaysian Birds Page! Or go back to  Khong Tuck Khoon page