Common Iora and chicks

on 22nd January 2009

Lee Tiah Khee’s photographic study of an adult Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) feeding a pair of chicks at Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve shows a number of interesting points.

As is typical, the nest is a cup-shaped structure placed on a horizontal branch using spiders’ silk for attachment.

The chicks do not appear to be ready to fledge as the wing feathers have yet to be fully emerged from their sheaths (lower chick). The white basal feather quills are conspicuous, continuing as black vanes enclosed tightly within the feather sheaths. Only the extreme tips, seen as faint brownish-yellow, are the emerging feather tips.

The bright fluffy yellow juvenal chest feathers are fully formed.

Exactly what the adult is feeding the chick is not clear. Can it be plant matter? A piece of fungus, perhaps? However, the iora takes arthropods mainly, and although rumoured to also take fruits, this has still to be confirmed.

Image by Lee Tiah Khee, taken on 30th June 2008.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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