Lee Richardson Zoo

Fairy Bluebird

Order: Passeriformes – song or perching birds
Family: Irenidae – Leafbirds, Ioras, and Fairy bluebirds

Scientific name:  Irena puella


DescriptionThe fairy bluebird is the most colorful and largest of the Irenidae family, measuring up to 11 inches in length. Like most birds, males are more brightly colored than females. The male is a brilliant blue and black, and the female is a duller turquoise. The eyes for both are bright red. They are most notable for very long upper and lower tail covert feathers that almost cover their entire tail.



Home Range

Southern Asia, Malaysia


Habitat type:  

Semi-deciduous forests


Reproductive habits:  During the breeding season, small flocks split into pairs. The female will build the nest by herself in the fork of two branches usually about 20 feet above the ground. The nest is an open cup made of roots and twigs camouflaged with moss. Unlike most forest birds, fairy bluebirds will breed in the heart of the densest and most humid areas of the forest. They will normally lay 2 oval eggs that appear green with brown and gray streaks.


Diet in WildFruit and insects. They are particularly fond of wild figs and will eat some flower nectar.


Diet in ZooMix of apples, carrots, greens, bananas, cockatiel seed, parakeet seed, parrot seed, and mealworms. Because these birds require a low iron diet, they are not fed strawberries or citrus.


General InfoFairy bluebirds live in small groups that remain in the forest canopy most of the time. They are extremely vocal, having a loud contact call and sharp whistles. They tend to be very restless, frequently hopping from branch to branch and tree to tree. This species can be seen bathing in forest streams during the heat of the day.


PredatorsNo information available.

Conservation Status:  Listed as Least Concern on Red List.



The Birds of China.  1984.  R.M. de Schauensee.  Smithsonian Institution,  Washington, D.C.  p. 332-333.


A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia.  1983.  B. King, M. Woodcock and E.C. Dickinson.  Collins, London.  p. 275.


Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia  Vol 10  Birds III.  2003.  edited by M. Hutchins, J.A. Jackson, W.J. Bock and D. Olendorf.  Gale Group, Michigan.  pp. 415-423.


In Encyclopedia Britannica.