Coliidae – Mousebirds

Red-faced Mousebird (Urocolius indicus) by Bob-Nan

Red-faced Mousebird (Urocolius indicus) by Bob-Nan

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. (Genesis 9:2 NKJV)

CLASS – AVES, Order – COLIIFORMES, Family – Coliidae – Mousebirds

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Species (6)

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)
White-headed Mousebird (Colius leucocephalus)
Red-backed Mousebird (Colius castanotus)
White-backed Mousebird (Colius colius)
Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)
Red-faced Mousebird (Urocolius indicus)


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The mousebirds are a small group of (possibly near passerine) birds which have no known close affinities to other groups, though might be close to trogons and owls. The mousebirds are therefore given order status as Coliiformes. This group is confined to sub-Saharan Africa, and is the only bird order confined entirely to that continent. They had a wider range in previous times and apparently started in Europe.

They are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers. They are typically about 10 cm in body length, with a long, thin, tail a further 20–24 cm in length, and weigh 45–55 grams. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents, in search of berries, fruit and buds. This habit, and their legs, gives rise to the group’s English name. They are acrobatic, and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes. They also have crests and stubby bills.

Mousebirds are gregarious, again reinforcing the analogy with mice, and are found in bands of about twenty in lightly wooded country.

These birds build cup-shaped twig nests in trees, which are lined with grasses. 2–4 eggs are typically laid, hatching to give quite precocious young which soon leave the nest and acquire flight. (Wikipedia)

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