The Common Iora is a small passerine bird found across tropical South Asia with populations showing plumage variations, some of which are designated as subspecies. A species found in scrub and forest, it is easily detected from its loud whistles and the bright colours. During the breeding season, males display by fluffing up their feathers and spiral in the air appearing like a green, black, yellow and white ball.
Ioras have a pointed and notched beak with a culmen that is straight. Males in the breeding season have a black cap and back adding to a black wing and tail at all seasons. Females have greenish wings and an olive tail. The undersides of both are yellow and the two white bars on the wings of the male are particularly prominent in their breeding plumage. The males in breeding plumage have a very variable distribution of the black on the upperparts and can be confused with Marshall's Iora, however, the latter always has white tips to the tail.