The two fairy-bluebirds are small passerine bird species found in forests and plantations in tropical southern Asia and the Philippines. They are the sole members of the genus Irena and family Irenidae, and are related to the ioras and leafbirds.

These are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, fairy-bluebirds are sexually dimorphic, with the males being dark blue in plumage, and the females duller green.

These species eat fruit, especially figs, and possibly some insects. They lay two to three eggs in a tree nest.

The call of the Asian fairy-bluebird is a liquid two note Glue-It.

As the names would suggest, the Asian fairy-bluebird occurs across southern Asia, and the Philippine fairy-bluebird in that archipelago.

Fairy bluebird male - Irena puella
Asian fairy-bluebird - male
Fairy bluebird female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Irenidae
Jerdon, 1863
Genus: Irena
Horsfield, 1821
Irenidae distribution
Irena puella light green,
Irena cyanogaster dark green


The first scientists to examine fairy-bluebirds placed them in the roller genus Coracias, presumably on the strength of the iridescent blue plumage on the back. This was challenged in the 1820s by Thomas Horsfield and Coenraad Temminck, who suggested a relationship instead with the drongos.[1] It was variously placed with the bulbuls and orioles as well. On the basis of the DNA-DNA hybridization studies of Sibley and Alhquist its closest relatives have now been identified as the leafbirds. The leafbirds are sometimes included in the family Irenidae with the fairy-bluebirds, but the time since the apparent divergence suggests that they are better treated as separate families.


Fairy-bluebirds are robust birds that resemble Old World orioles in shape and size. Males are larger than females, and the two species weigh between 50-100 g, with some of that variation being caused by sexual differences and some by geographic variation.[1] There are clines in size differences in both species which can be attributed to Bergmann's rule, with the northernmost populations being larger on average. Both species have a powerful deep and notched bill used for crushing, with that of the Philippine species being larger. Their feet are small, which suggests that they spend less time climbing in order to feed and more time on the wing.

The plumage of the fairy-bluebirds is exceptional, with the upperparts being deep rich blue. The Asian fairy-bluebird is sexually dimorphic in its plumage, the male being much brighter than the female, but the Philippine fairy-bluebird exhibits much less difference and the female is almost as bright as the male. The deep colour is provided by specialised naked feather-tip barbs. Although the fairy-bluebirds are highly visible in sunlight they are much less visible in the shade of the forest.

Distribution and habitat

The Asian fairy-bluebird has a discontinuous distribution from India to Java and Vietnam. In India the species is present in the south west of the country and in the north east. From Burma it has a continuous distribution (in suitable habitat) throughout most of South East Asia, and down into Borneo and Sumatra, as well as on the Andaman Islands. The species has not been reliably recorded on Sri Lanka since the 1870s. The Philippine fairy-bluebird is found on Luzon, Polillo, Leyte, Samar, Mindanao, Dinagat and Basilan.

The fairy-bluebirds are dependent upon fruit producing forests, but both species seem to exist in a wide range of forests, both evergreen and semi-evergreen. Within forests they are generally found in the canopy.


Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella) feeding on Peepal (Ficus religiosa) at Jayanti, Duars, WB W Picture 437
Female feeding on Ficus figs

Pairs or small groups (individuals are seldom seen alone) of fairy-bluebirds forage widely to obtain food. Fruit, particularly figs in the genus Ficus, are the most important item in the diet of fairy-bluebirds. Fairy-bluebirds will generally eat fruit of a certain size, and will crush larger fruits in order to make them manageable. Most food is obtained in the canopy. In addition to fruit berries may be eaten, as well as nectar, although this behaviour has only been reported in birds in India. In contrast to adults, however, insects are the principal component of the diet of nestlings. In the Philippines birds have been observed following troops of macaques, possibly in order to collect flushed insects.[2]

Male courtship displays include elaborate vocalizations, which the female responds to with nest building. Nests are constructed in trees or tall bushes from twigs, moss and grasses, and males and females cooperate in rearing chicks.[3]


In old Tagalog mythology in southern Luzon (Philippines), the fairy bluebirds were known as the tigmamanukan omen birds. All of which were the omen birds of Bathala, the supreme god of the Tagalog people prior to the arrival of the Spanish. According to legend, Bathala ordered a tigmamanukan bird to crack in one peck the bamboo which let out the first man, Malakas, and first woman, Maganda. In another legend, Bathala also sends the tigmamanukan bird (sometimes the tigmamanukan snake or lizard as there are three tigmamanukan forms) to aid mankind if they need to proceed or halt a journey. If a traveler sees a tigmamanukan omen, and it passes from right to left, then it symbolizes as labay (Bathala's approval to proceed with the journey). If the tigmamanukan omen passes from left to right, the traveller should not proceed, or else he or she will never return. All tigmamanukan omen birds are said to live in the mythical Mount Batala (a sacred mountain of Bathala).


  1. ^ a b Wells, D. (2005) "Family Irenidae" Pp. 268-277 in del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2005). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 10: Cuckoo-Shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-72-5
  2. ^ Ken Stott, Jr. (1947) "Fairy Bluebird: Long-Tailed Macaque Association on Mindanao" Auk 64 (1): 130
  3. ^ "Fairy Bluebird Fact Sheet, Lincoln Park Zoo"

External links

Asian fairy-bluebird

The Asian fairy-bluebird (Irena puella) is a medium-sized, arboreal passerine bird.

This fairy-bluebird is found in forests across tropical southern Asia, Indochina, the Greater Sundas and Palawan. Two or three eggs are laid in a small cup nest in a tree. It was described by British ornithologist John Latham in 1790. The only other member of the genus and family is the Philippine fairy-bluebird, I. cyanogastra, which replaces the Asian fairy-bluebird in most of the Philippines. Both species are considered as sacred to the Tagalog people as they are perceived as tigmamanukan omens.

The adult Asian fairy bluebird is about 24 to 27 centimetres (9.4 to 10.6 in). The male has glossy, iridescent blue upperparts, and black underparts and flight feathers. The female and first year male are entirely dull blue-green.

The Asian fairy bluebird eats fruits, nectar and some insects. Its call is a liquid two note glue-it.

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park (Goan Konkani: भगवान महावीरअभयारण्यआनी मोलें राष्ट्रीय उद्यान) is a 240 square kilometres (93 sq mi) protected area located in the Western Ghats of South India, in Sanguem taluk, Goa State, along the eastern border with Karnataka. The area is situated near the town of Molem, 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Panaji, the state capital of Goa. National Highway 4A divides it into two parts and the Mormugao - Londa railway line passes through the area. It is located between 15°15"30' to 15°29"30' N and 74°10"15' to 74°20"15' E. It contains several important temples dating to the Kadambas of Goa, and home to waterfalls, such as Dudhsagar Falls and Tambdi Falls. The parkland is also home to a community of nomadic buffalo herders known as the Dhangar.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a small 1.64 square kilometre (400 acre) nature reserve near the geographic centre of the city-state of Singapore, located on the slopes of Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore's highest hill standing at a height of 163.63 metres, and parts of the surrounding area. The nature reserve is about 12 kilometres from the Downtown Core, Singapore's central business district.

Together with the neighbouring Central Catchment Nature Reserve, it houses over 840 species of flowering plants and over 500 species of fauna. Today, it is one of the largest patches of primary rainforest left in Singapore.

The forest reserve was formally declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park on 18 October 2011.

Idamalayar Dam

Idamalayar Dam (Malayalam: ഇടമലയാർ അണക്കെട്ട്) is a multipurpose concrete gravity dam located at Ennakal,

near Bhoothathankettu, on the Idamalayar River, a tributary of the Periyar River in Kerala, South India. Completed in 1985, with a length of 373 metres (1,224 ft), the dam created a multipurpose reservoir covering 28.3 km2 (10.9 sq mi) in the scenic hills of the Western Ghats.The reservoir storage is utilized by a hydroelectric power station which has an

installed capacity of 75 MW with two units of 37.5 MW capacity, producing an annual energy output of 380 GW·h.The large reservoir created by the Idamalayar Dam is operated by the Kerala State Electricity Board to augment its peak power generation requirements. The dam will benefit the Idamalayar Irrigation Development Project by diverting water released from the tail race channel of the Idamalayar power station.

Indigenous religious beliefs of the Tagalog people

The indigenous religious beliefs of the Tagalog people (sometimes referred to as Anitism, or, less accurately, using the general term "animism") were well documented by Spanish missionaries, mostly in the form of epistolary accounts (relaciones) and as entries in the various dictionaries put together by missionary friars.Archeological and linguistic evidence indicates that these beliefs date back to the arrival of Austronesian peoples, although elements were later syncretistically adapted from Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Islam. Many of these indigenous beliefs persist to this day, in sycretistic forms discussed by scholars as Philippine variations of Folk Islam and Folk Catholicism.

Kali Tiger Reserve

Kali Tiger Reserve (Kannada: ಕಾಳಿ ಹುಲಿ ಸಂರಕ್ಷಿತ ಪ್ರದೇಶ ) is a protected area and tiger reserve. It is located in Uttara Kannada district, in Karnataka, India. The park is a habitat of Bengal tigers, black panthers and Indian elephants, amongst other distinctive fauna. The Kali River flows through the tiger reserve and is the lifeline of the ecosystem and hence the name. The Tiger reserve is spread over an area of 1300 square kilometers.

Khao Chamao–Khao Wong National Park

Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park, Khao Chamao District, Rayong Province is a tourist attraction in the eastern part of Thailand (rainforest in Rayong). The natural of Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park covers an area of 52,300 rai or 83.68 square kilometers.

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary

Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and natural World Heritage Site, which is located in Satara district of the Indian state of Maharashtra. The sanctuary is nested in the Western Ghats, covering an area of around 423.55 km2 (163.53 sq mi), and elevations ranging from 600 to 1,100 m (2,000 to 3,600 ft). It was notified in 1985 as a wildlife sanctuary situated in Maharashtra. It forms the northern portion of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, with Chandoli National Park forming the southern part of the reserve.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

A gated attraction, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park (Malay: Taman Burung Kuala Lumpur) is a 20.9-acre (8.5 ha) public aviary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is a popular tourist attraction in the country, receiving an annual average of 200,000 visitors. It is located adjacent to the Lake Gardens within a KL green lung in Bukit Aman, close to the National Mosque and Royal Malaysian Police Museum. The Bird Park houses more than 3,000 birds representing more than 200 species in an enclosed aviary. About 90% are local birds and 10% were imported from countries such as Australia, China, Holland, Indonesia, New Guinea, Tanzania and Thailand.

List of legendary creatures (T)

Tachash (Jewish) - Large land animal

Taimatsumaru (Japanese) - Tengu surrounded in demonic fire

Takam (Persian) - Nature spirit

Taka-onna (Japanese) - Female spirit which can stretch itself to peer into the second story of a building

Talos (Greek) - Giant made of bronze

Tangie (Scottish) - Shapeshifting water spirit

Taniwha (Māori) - Water spirit

Tantankororin (Japanese) - Unharvested persimmon which becomes a monster

Tanuki (Japanese) - Shapeshifting raccoon dog

Taotao Mona (Mariana Islands) - Ancestral spirits

Taotie (Chinese) - Greed spirit

Tapairu (Mangaia) - Nature spirit

Tarasque (French) - Dragon with leonine, turtle, bear, and human attributes

Tartalo (Basque) - One-eyed giant

Tartaruchi (Christian) - Demonic punisher

Tatami-tataki (Japanese) - Poltergeist that hits the tatami mats at night

Tatsu - Japanese dragon

Taurokampoi (Etruscan) - Fish-tailed bull

Tavara (Trabzon) - Night-demon

Teju Jagua (Guaraní) - Lizard with seven dog heads

Tecumbalam (Mayan) - Bird

Tengu (Japanese) - Anthropomorphic bird

Tennin (Japanese) - Angelic humanoid

Te-no-me (Japanese) - Ghost of a blind man, with his eyes on his hands

Tepegoz (Azerbaijani) - Azerbaijani mythical creature similar to the cyclops Polyphemus

Terrible Monster (Jewish) - Lion-eagle-scorpion hybrid made from the blood of murder victims

Teumessian Fox (Greek) - Gigantic fox

Thayer's Gull- A mythical seagull that lures twitchers to their death.

Theriocephalus (Medieval folklore) - Animal-headed humanoid

Three-legged bird (Asia and Africa) - Solar bird

Thunderbird (Native American) - Avian lightning bird spirit

Tiangou (Chinese) - Meteoric dog

Tianlong (Chinese) - Celestial dragon

Tibicena (Canarian) - Evil Dog

Tiddy Mun (English) - Bog spirit

Tigmamanukan (Philippine) - Asian fairy bluebird

Tigris (Jewish) - Giant lion

Tikbalang (Philippine) - Anthropomorphic horse

Tikoloshe (Zulu) - Little people and water spirit

Timingila (Hindu) - Sea monster

Tipua (Māori) - Spirit that protects a specific place

Titan (Greek) - Primeval god

Tiyanak (Philippine) - Demons that are souls of dead unbaptized babies

Tizheruk (Inuit) - Sea serpent

Tlahuelpuchi (Tlaxcalan) - Shapeshifting vampire

Tōfu-kozō (Japanese) - Spirit child carrying a block of tofu

Toire-no-Hanakosan (Japanese) - Ghost who lurks in grade school restroom stalls

Tomte (Scandinavian) - House spirit

Topielec (Slavic) - Water spirit

Tōtetsu (Japanese) - Greed spirit

Toyol (Malay) - Servant spirit

Trasgo (Spanish and Portuguese) - Grotesque, mischievous little people

Trauco (Chilota) - Fertility spirit

Trenti (Cantabrian) - Diminutive demon

Trickster - Character in a story which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour

Tripurasura (Hindu) - Demonic inhabitants of Tripura

Tritons (Greek) - Male human-fish hybrid

Troll (Norse) - Nature spirit

Trow (Orkney and Shetland) - Little people and nature spirits

Tsi-noo (Abenaki) - Vampiric demon

Tsuchigumo (Japanese) - Shapeshifting, giant spider

Tsuchinoko (Japanese) - Plump snake-like creature

Tsukumogami (Japanese) - Inanimate object that becomes animated after existing for 100 years

Tsul 'Kalu (Cherokee) - Giant nature spirit

Tsurara-onna (Japanese) - Icicle woman

Tsurube-otoshi (Japanese) - Monster which drops or lowers a bucket from the top of a tree to catch people

Tugarin Zmeyevich (Slavic) - Evil shapeshifter

Tylwyth Teg (Welsh) - Nature spirit

Tupilaq (Inuit) - Animated construct

Turehu (Māori) - Pale spirit

Turul (Hungarian) - Giant falcon that helped shape the origins of the Magyars

Typhon (Greek) - Winged, snake-legged giant

Tzitzimitl (Aztec) - Skeletal star spirit

Mudumalai National Park

The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also a declared tiger reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), in Nilgiri District, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-west of Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu. It shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. The sanctuary is divided into five ranges – Masinagudi, Thepakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota.

The protected area is home to several endangered and vulnerable species including Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, gaur and Indian leopard. There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture.The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), including all of Mudumalai National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

Philippine fairy-bluebird

The Philippine fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra) is a species of bird in the family Irenidae. It is endemic to the Philippines.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.

The species, along with the Asian fairy-bluebird, are considered as sacred to the Tagalog people as they are perceived as tigmamanukan omens, and therefore, the sacred omens and messengers of Bathala, the supreme god in indigenous Tagalog religious practices.

Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape

The Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape is a protected landscape area of forested limestone hills, grasslands and natural springs in the island province of Bohol in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is the largest remaining tract of natural forest in Bohol and one of the Philippines' top birdwatching sites. The park was initially gazetted a national park in 1987 covering approximately 9,023 hectares (22,300 acres). In 2000, it was reestablished as a protected landscape under the National Integrated Protected Areas System covering its present area of 10,452.6 hectares (25,829 acres). The park is one of the island's major tourist attractions located just south of the famous Chocolate Hills. It was named after the Bohol chieftain who entered into a blood-compact with Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi on the island in 1565.

Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo is an AZA-accredited wildlife park and major attraction in Wichita, Kansas. Founded in 1971 with the help of the Sedgwick County Zoological Society, the zoo has quickly become recognized both nationally and internationally for its support of conservation programs and successful breeding of rare and endangered species. Having over 3,000 animals of nearly 400 different species, the zoo has slowly increased its visitors and now ranks as the number one outdoor tourist attraction in the state.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 12

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Sirinat National Park

Sirinat National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติสิรินาถ) is a national park in Phuket Province, Thailand. This park, with sections on land and sea, is in the northwest of the island of Phuket.

Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary

Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka state of South India. It is located in Kodagu district and is spread over 105 km². It borders with Ranipuram hills and Kottencheri hills in Kasarkod district of Kerala.


In Philippine mythology, the Tigmamanukan was believed by the Tagalog people to be an omen bird. Although the behaviors of numerous birds and lizards were said to be omens, particular attention was paid to the tigmamanukan. In pre-colonial times, the Tagalogs believed that the tigmamanukan was sent by Bathala to give hints to mankind whether they needed to proceed on a journey or not. The tigmamanukan bird was also the omen bird sent by Bathala to crack open the bamboo where the first man and woman came from.


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