Family Fairy-bluebirds (Irenidae)

Least Concern

Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)


French: Irène vierge German: Türkisfeenvogel Spanish: Irena común

Coracias Puella


, 1790,

Travancore, southern Kerala, India


Formerly considered conspecific with I. cyanogastra and, until recently, with I. tweeddalii (which see). Race andamanica sometimes included in nominate, but differs in having heavier bill; molecular analysis has even suggested it to be a separate species#R. Birds from N Indian Subcontinent sometimes separated as race sikkimensis. Body size varies with latitude, outer tropical populations of nominate being largest, equatorial crinigera smallest. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. p. puella (Latham, 1790) – SW, S & NE Indian Subcontinent E to extreme S China (S Yunnan), S in continental SE Asia to N Malay Peninsula and S Vietnam.
  • I. p. andamanica Abdulali, 1964 – Andaman Is; unconfirmed on Nicobar Is#R.
  • I. p. malayensis F. Moore, 1854 – S Malay Peninsula.
  • I. p. crinigera#R Sharpe, 1877 – Sumatra (including islands off W coast), Bangka, Belitung and Borneo.
  • I. p. turcosa Walden, 1870 – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    21·2–25·8 cm; male 56·6–75·7 g, female 52–71·2 g (malayensis), 56 g (crinigera). Strongly dichromatic.... read more


    Various liquid, whistling monosyllabic and disyllabic contact calls, strident and carrying:... read more


    Tall tropical to subtropical lowland broadleaf evergreen to semi-evergreen forest, and comparable... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly fruit, ranging from small berries to figs (Ficus), of which 24 species of the latter genus alone are known in the diet... read more


    Season Jan–Jun, peak Feb–Apr, in Indian Subcontinent; mainly on gonad condition of specimens, Feb–Jun in Peninsular... read more


    Essentially resident. Said to be a seasonal (winter) visitor to Coorg Plateau, in Western Ghats (SW... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). More or less common through most of its extensive range; only locally uncommon or rare, although reckoned to be generally on the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wells, D., Elliott, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 March 2019).