These are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, fairy-bluebirds are sexually dimorphic, with the males being dark blue in plumage, and the females duller green.
These species eat fruit, especially figs, and maybe some insects. They lay 2-3 eggs in a tree nest.
The call of the Asian Fairy-bluebird is a liquid two note Glue-It.
As the names would suggest, the Asian Fairy-bluebird occurs across southern Asia, and the Philippine Fairy-bluebird in that archipelago.
The plumage of the fairy-bluebirds is exceptional, with the upperparts being deep rich blue. The Asian Fairy-bluebird is sexually dimorphic in its plumage, with the male being much brighter than the female, but the Philippine Fairy-bluebird exibits much less difference and the female is almost as bright as the male. The deep colour is provided by specialised naked feather-tip barbs. Although the fairy-bluebirds are highly visible in sunlight they are much more cryptic in the shade of the forest.
The fairy-bluebirds are dependent upon fruit producing forests, but both species seem to exist in a wide range of forests, both evergreen and semi-evergreen. Within forests they are generally found in the canopy.
Pairs or small groups (individuals are seldom seen alone) of fairy-bluebirds forage widely to obtain food. Fruit, particularly figs in the genus Ficus, are the most important item in the diet of fairy-bluebirds. Fairy-bluebirds will generally eat fruit of a certain size, and will crush larger fruits in order to make them manageable. Most food is obtained in the canopy. In addition to fruit berries may be eaten, as well as nectar, although this behaviour has only been reported in birds in India. In contrast to adults, hoeever, insects are the principal component of the diet of nestlings. In the Philippines birds have been observed following troops of macaques, possibly in order to collect flushed insects.
J Zoo Wildl Med.: Mycobacterial infection in a fairy bluebird (Irena puella): a diagnostic conundrum.(Brief article)
Jun 01, 2009; An adult male, wild-caught fairy bluebird (Irena puella) was evaluated after diagnosis of hepatic mycobacterial disease in a bird...