Common Iora: Vocalisation

on 7th August 2010

“In December 2009 I posted three sound recordings of calls made by, I believe, the same unknown bird: unknown-call2a, unknown-call2b3 and unknown-call2c.

“It was recorded with my compact superzoom (up to 432mm equiv). It has a built-in stereo mic and can record sound clip with a data rate of 16 bits and sampling rate of up to 44.1Khz – which means fairly good quality recording. Besides it can record video at 640×480 resolution and 30 frames per sec. I have used it to record a pair of Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) in the process of carving out a nest in a tree trunk.

“The ID of the bird remained a mystery to me until I read the 30 Mar 2010 article on BESGroup website about courtship of the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia). The article started with: ‘A repertoire of songs was what attracted me to a pair of Common Ioras….’ – see HERE.

“As I enjoy listening to bird calls, especially the melodious kind, I decided to check out Xeno-canto to find out how the Common Iora’s calls are like. And lo, the songs in my unknown call2a.mp3 and unknown call2c.mp3 matched those recorded in Xeno-canto’s Cat. No 26057. Besides this there were also other recordings of its songs. So I found out how the Common Iora songs sound.

“By sheer coincidence, I think that was the start of the breeding season. I heard them singing practically the whole day, in front, behind, at the side of my apartment, and around my condo.

“Armed with my camera, I made numerous audio recordings. I have just completed editing by joining the audio clips to form a sound track. The songs can be heard HERE: 660_Sun Chong Hong_280710_song_Singapore_urban-rural.

“Incidentally, I have not been able to see them even though they were singing all around me, until I saw one [Common Iora], partially hidden (above left) with head down, tail up, right leg grasping a rambutan and left leg grasping a twig). I am still not too sure that this is it! For comparison of relative sizes, I have attached two images of Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) (above centre) and Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) (ablve right). All the three images were taken from about the same distance. What other bird can it possibly be, if it is not a Common Iora?”

Sun Chong Hong
28th July 2010

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 Responses

  1. Yes, Chong Hong. Ioras are not easy to see. I hear them all the time in the tall trees outside my home in Seletar, but have not managed to see one yet.

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