Common iora

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The common iora (Aegithina tiphia) belongs to the family of ioras, Aegithinidae.

The common iora species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and south China. These iora species are brightly colored small passerine birds. These ioras are polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Common Iora Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Common iora - Overview

  • Scientific name: Aegithina tiphia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Motacilla Tiphia Linnaeus, 1758
  • Family: Aegithinidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Common iora, Chinese: 黑翅雀鹎, French: Petit Iora, German: Garteniora, Spanish: Iora común, Russian: Чернокрылая йора, Japanese: ヒメコノハドリ, Indonesian: Burung Cipoh Kacat
  • Other names: Black-winged Iora, Small Iora
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, southern China
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The common iora (Aegithina tiphia) is a small bird, measuring 12 to 13 cm in length and weighing 12 to 17 grams.

These common iora species are sexually dimorphic, the males being slightly larger and having bright breeding plumage. There is large variation in the plumage color among the subspecies.

The male iora has black wing and black tail. The breeding male had a black cap and black back. The females have greenish wings and olive tail. The underparts are yellow in both male and female. There are two white bars on the wings.

The bill is pointed and notched with a straight culmen. The irises are blackish in males and pale yellow in females. The feet are grayish.

The call of these common iora species is a mixture of churrs and a trilled "wheee-tee" sound. These birds are known to imitate the calls of other species of birds.
Indian birds - Picture of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia
1.Birds of India - Image of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia by Doug Janson

Birds of India - Photo of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia
2.Indian birds - Picture of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia by Soumyajit Nandy

Indian birds - Image of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia
3.Birds of India - Photo of Common iora - Aegithina tiphia by Doug Janson

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The common iora species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, south China, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.

In India, except for the arid regions, these common iora species are distributed in all the states. In China, they are distributed in the province of Yunnan.

The common iora nominate subspecies A. t. tiphia is distributed in foot of Himalayas in India (Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram), Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and west Myanmar.

The common iora subspecies A. t. septentrionalis is distributed in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The subspecies A. t. multicolor is distributed in southern India (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, TamilNadu and Kerala) and Sri Lanka.

The iora subspecies A. t. humei is distributed in central India (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal).

The common iora subspecies A. t. philipi is distributed in east Myanmar, north and central Thailand, north Laos and north Vietnam and south China (Yunnan). The subspecies A. t. deignani is distributed in northern Myanmar.

The common iora subspecies A. t. horizoptera is distributed in southern Myanmar, central and southern Thailand, Malaysian Peninsula, Singapore and Indonesia (Sumatra).

The iora subspecies A. t. cambodiana is distributed in southeast Thailand, Cambodia, south Laos and south Vietnam. The subspecies A. t. aequanimis is distributed in Philippines (Palawan) and north Borneo (Malaysia and Brunei).

The common iora subspecies A. t. viridis is distributed in southern Borneo (Indonesia). The subspecies A. t. scapularis is distributed in Indonesia (Java and Bali).

Ecosystem and habitat

These common iora species have moderate forest dependence. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2000 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include plantations, rural gardens, urban parks and heavily degraded forests.

The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, evergreen forests, mangrove forests, open wooded country, moist montane forests and tropical swamps.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the common iora consists mainly of insects and spiders. Crickets, spiders, locust, grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths, mantids, stick insects, worms, grubs, termites, ants and beetles are their primary food.

These species glean insects from foliage and also from trunk and branches. In rare occasions, they hawk flying insects.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the common iora species is from January to September in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The male common ioras make courtship displays by darting up into the air, fluffing up all feathers and spiralling down to the perch.

These species are monogamous. The breeding pair build a compact, shallow cup-shaped nest on a fork of a tree. The nest is a shallow saucer of interwoven grass, cobwebs and fibres.

The typical clutch contains two to four pale green eggs with pinkish speckles. The male incubates during the day and the female incubates during the night. The chicks hatch out in 14 days. Both parents brood the chicks and also feed them.

Migration and movement patterns

These common iora species are non-migrant resident birds. Nomadic movements have been observed due to weather conditions and abundance of food.

Post breeding, the juvenile ioras may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the common iora (Aegithina tiphia) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is unknown.

Throughout its range this iora species is reported to be common. The generation length is 4.8 years. Its distribution size is about 14,900,000

Habitat degradation and fragmentation, decline in insect populations due to indiscriminate use of pesticides are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these iora species.

IUCN and CITES status

The common iora (Aegithina tiphia) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the iora species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for common iora (Aegithina tiphia).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Aegithina tiphia
Species:A. tiphia
Binomial name:Aegithina tiphia
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The eleven recognized subspecies of the common iora (Aegithina tiphia) are: A. t. tiphia, A. t. scapularis, A. t. septentrionalis, A. t. viridis, A. t. humei, A. t. aequanimis, A. t. multicolor, A. t. cambodiana, A. t. philipi, A. t. horizoptera and A. t. deignani.
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1.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Doug Janson | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Soumyajit Nandy | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Doug Janson | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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