The genus Irena contains some of the most beautiful birds known, of which one species only is found within our limits.
The position of Irena appears to be in this subfamily, its relationship with the Bulbuls, with which it is generally placed, being doubtful. Its affinities for some of the genera of this subfamily, such as Cutia, appear to me to be strong.
In Irena the bill is shorter than the head, stout, curved, with the tip notched ; the nostrils are oval, partially concealed by the frontal plumes ; the rictal bristles are well developed. Some hairs spring from the nape, somewhat as in the Bulbuls. The head is not crested. The wing is rather pointed, and the tail-coverts are extremely long. The tarsus is short.