Pictures with write-up on the Asian Fairy Bluebird

Bluebird -  Irenidae
Return To Index Page Leafbirds

This is a small group of birds under this category which covers Fairy Bluebirds and Leafbirds. World wide there are only 10 species and out of which 6 are in South east Asia. The 5 Leafbirds had a page on their own and to bring in some similarity to the Leafbirds, I made that past and remote link

This Bluebird is now reclassified as a Irenidae

These birds Bluebirds and Leafbirds are known to feed on berries, insects as well as nectar but more so on berries at times hunting nectar.


Asian Fairy Bluebird  Irena puella malayensis


Size & diagnostic markings:-

24 Cm. The bright blue color on the upper part makes it easy to ID the bird. It's blue on the back and the upper part of tail. The more than half the wing and the centre part of back in black. The under part is entirely black.

Another distinguished sign is the red eyes


 Distribution :-  

This bird is native to southern India and way down to Sri Langka and then the Andaman islands. In the north, the north-eastern part of India and into southern China. then south to the Greater Sundas


Habitats & preferences:-

This is more lowland forest bird in Malaysia, though can also be seen in the hills. Most times the bird would maintain its discreet presence in open branches but would not call. However in fruiting season, it would descend to the lower storey. The bird do call fairly often when it is well conceal.


In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- 

I find that the bird though not sighted easily but is very common. Judging from the frequency their calls were heard, I would say that it is present in most forest in most states that I do my birding. Just identify its call and be patient, the bird would be flying off to the next perch in a short time.


Record of bird's call :-    and Video:-

More pictures of this bird


Bluebird  # 1

Bluebird  # 2

Bluebird # 3

Bluebird  # 4

Bluebird  # 5

Bluebird # 6

Bluebird  # 7

Bluebird  # 8

Bluebird # 9

Bluebird  # 10

female  # 11

female # 12

Bluebird  # 13

Bluebird  # 14

Bluebird # 15

Bluebird # 16

Bluebird  # 17

Bluebird # 18

Bluebird  # 19

Bluebird  # 20

female # 21

 My personal jottings:-

These are medium sized birds of 25 cm with the same body profile as the very common Bulbul birds and Leafbirds. Because of its fairly large stocky size plus the bright blue color, it should be easy to spot. The bird behaves in 2 ways, it would be seen in very exposed branched but far away in high branches.

This bird with its unique blue hue is an attractive bird and instantly recognizable. However being a forest bird, it choose spot which are thick with foliages, so it is not easy to locate even sensing its presence instantly. The bird has that habit of making continuous though interrupted calls i.e a single note loud contact call, repeated. Then  a melodious series of whistling notes. Familiar with its calls is one important way of detecting its presence.

The bird essentially a fruit eater would join other birds at the fruiting trees. This is the only time that the bird would descend from its usual perch in the middle storey to the lower level. During such occassion the bird do not display any shyness or wearied of human presence to make quick get away.

Contrary to other reports, I have so far seen the male bird all by itself. Not moving in pair nor other individuals feeding together. In other words, never had seen 2 Fairy Bluebirds appearing at the same scene. The report of them foraging in groups may not be out of context, with my little knowledge I am referring to Fairy Bluebirds that I encountered in the Peninsula. Furthermore, the female species is hardly seen and more so, never once seen with the male bird. That also account for the fact I have so little pictures. The couple of pictures I have included here were extracted from a video I made on the female.