News and Information on Birding Sites Throughout Thailand and the Andaman

The Common Iora is a very common bird. Surprisingly few people ever notice it and when birders do locate it, most are surprised at how beautiful it actually is.

That’s because the Common Iora Aegithina tiphia is a bit of a skulker. It is an arboreous bird, rarely spotted out in the open. It’s also an insectivore and like phylloscopus warblers, has a habit of searching the tops and bottoms of leaves on its quest for lunch. As such it exhibits very dexterous behavior and can be observed feeding upside down or digging into tree bark like a woodpecker.

Of the three species of iora found in Thailand, the Common Iora is the middle child of the pack. At 15 cm. is slightly larger than the Green Iora (14 cm.) but smaller than the Great Iora. The bird is mostly yellow with an olive back and blackish wings which are punctuated by two broad wing bars. The tail is black and the crown and nape of the male is black. Females lack the black on the head and are usually a dull yellowish olive color all over. The bill is a cold grey color and sometimes the lower and upper mandibles are two separate shades, giving it an impression of being bicolored.

Common Iora are found anywhere where there are trees. Rainforest, mangrove, municipal parks and even gardens play host to this versatile bird. This little fellow had a habit of spending the night parked three feet from my bedroom window.

Common Ioras breed in the early months of the year, after the wet season. The birds build a cup shaped nest of twigs lined with spiderweb placed in the forks of trees.

Besides using an array of chirps and whistles, signature call of the Common Iora is unmistakable and can be heard all throughout the day. It begins as a long monotone whistle which suddenly drops two or three octaves lower before ending.

The Common Iora prefers to be gregarious and can often be found in birdwaves.

The IUCN ranks it as “Least Concern due to its widespread distribution. Its ability to adapt to both forest and urban environments means it fares well despite predation by snakes, lizards and other large birds.

This juvenile male was photographed from my bedroom window a few years back after I’d just received the best present my wife ever bought me: a new Canon 7D Mark II camera.

Categories: Bird of the Month

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