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Philippine Fairy-bluebird Irena cyanogastra
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened on the basis that it is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to on-going forest loss and degradation.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002a).

Irena cyanogaster Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)

Distribution and population
Irena cyanogastra is endemic to the Philippines, where it is found on Luzon, Cataduanes, Polillo, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Dinagat, Mindanao and Basilan (Kennedy et al. 2000, del Hoyo et al. 2005). The species appears to occur at low densities in most occupied habitats (Ding Li Yong in litt. 2011, R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012). The population is thought to be in overall decline as a result of on-going forest clearance and degradation.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to on-going habitat destruction, fragmentation and degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

It is found mainly in closed-canopy broadleaved evergreen forest, but also forest edge and perhaps secondary growth, ranging up to 1,500 m (Kennedy et al. 2000, del Hoyo et al. 2005). The species has been found to be very uncommon in secondary forest (Ding Li Yong in litt. 2011), suggesting that it shows only low tolerance of habitat degradation.


The wholesale clearance of forest habitats in this species's range is taking place as a result of logging, conversion to agriculture and mining activities. Major road building plans pose a further threat. Illegal logging is frequent in some protected areas. Most remaining lowland forest is now leased to logging concessions or mining applications, and there are current explorations in high elevation areas. Mining for chromite and nickel represents a significant threat to many remaining forest areas (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007). On Dinagat, forest is being rapidly cleared for surface-mining (D. Allen in litt. 2011). Logging operations on Basilan in the 1960s, followed by clearance for agriculture and increased hunting, have undoubtedly impacted the species. Forest in some areas, especially in the lowlands, is being cleared under concession and re-planted with exotic trees for paper production. Soil erosion is also a problem in some areas. Anecdotal evidence that the species is affected by deforestation comes from the vast concession held by Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP), where it has declined tremendously over the last 10 years and is now difficult to find (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out regular surveys to monitor the species's population trend. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation throughout its range. Increase the area of suitable habitat in protected areas. Improve the effectiveness of existing protected areas.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2005. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 10: Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Kennedy, R. S.; Gonzales, P. C.; Dickinson, E. C.; Miranda, H. C., Jr.; Fisher, T. H. 2000. A guide to the birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J.

Allen, D., Hutchinson, R., Ibanez, J., Yong, D.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Irena cyanogastra. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)
Species name author Vigors, 1831
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 229,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species