Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Aegithina tiphia singaporensis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Aegithinidae
Genus:Aegithina
Species:A. tiphia singaporensis
Common Names:Common Iora
Status:Common resident

Description

The population in Singapore and the southernmost tip of Johor is a unique population found nowhere else in the world and is named after Singapore.

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Aegithinidae family.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Common Iora is very common in gardens, parks, scrubland, rural and coastal areas. It is usually found singly or in pairs, very high up on trees. It is hard to observe as it never seems to stop moving, gleaning insects from foliage. Its whistled, variable wheezing notes are often heard - the calls of the adult and juvenile have been recorded and can be heard HERE and HERE.

The nest is parasitised by the Banded-bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii) and the somewhat comical sight of the small iora adult feeding a much larger cuckoo fledging is always exciting to encounter.

Diet

The diet includes fruits of Macaranga bancana and Callicarpa glabrifolis; nectar of Drumstick (Moringa pterygosperma) flowers and even the flowers themselves. Animal diet includes caterpillars and pupae of insects, the latter carefully torn out from its casing; also, praying mantids and alate termites.

It has been recorded joining a bird wave in Singapore's urban environment.

Life Cycle

The Common Iora breeds from March to July. Courtship involves singing, raising and fannng of the tail feathers and stretching the body towards the female. In one instance, a female fell over while still clutched onto the branch after listening to the intense singing of the males.

It builds a delicate nest in the shape of a compact cup, made of grass and fibre, plastered together with spider webs (and possible also cocoon silk) and placed in a fork on a branch 3–10 m above the ground. A full clutch of 2 eggs; both sexes incubate, brood and feed the chicks. A bee was observed being fed to a chick after removing the sting, alsoa spider. After feeding the adults regularly remove the faecal sacs.

References

Wang, L. K. 2011. Ioras. Pp. 350. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L. K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179.

Related Images

Related Sounds

Spot any errors? Have any questions? Something to contribute? Email us at dbsthh@nus.edu.sg!
Presented by

NUS      RMBR
Sponsored by

Care-for-Nature