Family Fairy-bluebirds (Irenidae)

Near Threatened

Philippine Fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra)


French: Irène à ventre bleu German: Kobaltfeenvogel Spanish: Irena dorsinegra

Irena cyanogastra


, 1831,

Manila, Luzon, Philippines


Formerly considered conspecific with I. puella, and recent move to split it into three based on molecular evidence#R, but race melanochlamys unsampled (treated as conspecific with hoogstraali under latter arrangement) while plumage differences are subtle and score low in all comparisons. Species name sometimes spelt cyanogaster, but this is an unjustified emendation. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. c. cyanogastra Vigors, 1831 – Luzon, Polillo and Catanduanes.
  • I. c. ellae Steere, 1890 – Samar, Leyte and Bohol.
  • I. c. hoogstraali Rand, 1948 – Dinagat, Siargao and Mindanao.
  • I. c. melanochlamys#R Sharpe, 1877 – Basilan.
  • Descriptive notes

    23·3–27·5 cm; male 71–96·1 g and female 75·9–89·7 g (ellae), two males 72 g and 76 g and four females 69·... read more


    During presumed breeding season very noisy, and a mimic; apparent song “whip whip whip-aaww... read more


    Tall, mainly closed-canopy lowland broadleaf evergreen forest, and equivalent lower montane forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Confirmed items include only fruit, especially figs (Ficus), but diet unlikely to differ much from that of I. puella.... read more


    Adults with active gonads in Mar, Apr and May, and a fledgling (of race ellae) in early Aug. Nest said to be cup-shaped. No other... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reported as common. Has declined; ranges of all races have contracted and become fragmented owing to extensive habitat loss from deforestation.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wells, D. (2019). Philippine Fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra). 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 22 March 2019).