This small family of just four species is sometimes combined with the slightly larger family of leafbirds (Chloropseidae). Both families are confined to the Oriental region and consist of small, predominantly green and/or yellow, sexually-dimorphic, foliage-dwellers with sturdy legs and slender, slightly decurved bills. Whilst leafbirds often feed on fruit and sometimes even nectar, however, ioras are strictly insectivorous. One unusual characteristic of ioras, especially males, is the soft, long white plumes of the flanks, which partly cover the rump when these birds fly. These flank plumes are raised during courtship displays, when the male also leans forward, drooping his wings and spreading his tail. Another dramatic display, observed in India, but not yet in South-east Asia, involves the male leaping upwards for a metre or more, fluffing its body plumage into a “ball”, then parachuting or spiralling slowly down to land close to the female, to be followed by the aforementioned, normal display, and the whole process repeated. Voicefull and active throughout the day. Of the four species, only two occur in Indonesia, and only in Java and Bali.
Finch like, undulating. Fast wingbeats followed by long glides.
Like the ioras, leafbirds are restricted to the Oriental Region, including India, Indo-China and the Greater Sundas. East Java was thought to represent the eastern distributional limit of this family, but there have been several recent sightings of one species in Bali. True to their name, leafbirds are invariably found amongst foliage and their predominantly green plumage provides a very effective camouflage. Leafbirds are omnivorous, taking both insects and fruit, as well as nectar. Some larger species have a small hook (or nail) that projects beyond the closed bill, which maybe useful in capturing large crickets and mantids; smaller species without this hook mainly eat larvae and spiders, and moths are sometimes pursued in short aerial sallies. Small fruits are eaten whole, but medium-sized fruits are first pierced by the lower mandible, then squeezed in the bill until the contents burst from the tough skin, which is discarded.
Though not as vocal as ioras, leafbirds have melodious songs, making them popular as cage birds in the region. Unusual for passerines, both sexes sing, and at least some species are accomplished mimics, copying the calls of spiderhunters and bulbuls. Two species occur in Java, and bothare found in Baluran.
Direct. Deep and fast wingbeats.