Sunday, February 9, 2014

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

The Common Iora  (Aegithina tiphiais) a small passerine bird.  It is a very active bird. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which does occur in Pakistan which is named as "Common Iora" (Aegithina tiphia).

A. tiphia
Aegithina tiphia
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Ioras have a pointed and notched beak with a culmen that is straight. The Common Iora is sexually dimorphic, males in the breeding season have a black cap and back adding to a black wing and tail at all seasons. Females have greenish wings and an olive tail. The undersides of both are yellow and the two white bars on the wings of the male are particularly prominent in their breeding plumage. The males in breeding plumage have a very variable distribution of the black on the upperparts.

Common Iora is easily detected from its loud whistles and the bright colors. It can produce a variety of notes. It utters some mournful whistles. Most classical call is a whistled note, slightly quavering, or several notes ending with a sudden modulation “whiiiiii-tiu” or tui-tiii-tiu”. It utters variable chirrs and chattering. Song is a trill “wheeeee-tee. They may sometimes imitate the calls of other birds such as drongos. 

Common Iora feeds mainly on insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, dragonflies and mantises.  It catches insects on the wing. It search for them from leaves high in the canopy. It may sometimes hang upside down from branches. It also consumes spiders and small insects, fruit, berries and nectar. Ioras forage in trees in small groups, gleaning among the branches for insects. They sometimes join mixed species feeding flocks.

Common Iora’s nest is usually situated in a fork, at the end of a branch, in small tree. Nest is a loose, compact deep cup-shaped, made with grass and plant fibers woven together, and consolidated with silk of spider webs on the external side. The nest is placed in the fork of a tree.

During the breeding season, mainly after the monsoons, the male an acrobatic courtship display by darting up into the air fluffing up all his feathers especially those on the pale green rump and spiral in the air appearing like a green, black, yellow and white ball. Once he lands, he spreads his tail and droops his wings.

Female lays 2 to 4 greenish-white eggs, blotched and spotted with reddish-brown. Both male and female incubateand eggs hatch after about 14 days. Nests predators include snakes, lizards, crow-pheasant and crows. Nests may also be brood-parasitized by the Banded Bay Cucko.
The Common Iora is found across the tropical Indian Subcontinent with populations showing plumage variations, some of which are designated as subspecies. It is found in scrub and forest  


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