Mousebird

The mousebirds (family Coliidae, order Coliiformes) are a family of birds. They are the sister group to the clade Eucavitaves, which includes the cuckoo roller (Leptosomatiformes), trogons (Trogoniformes), Bucerotiformes, Coraciformes and Piciformes.[1] 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 prehistoric times, with a widespread distribution in Europe and North America during the Paleocene.[2]

Mousebirds
Temporal range: Early Paleocene to present
Urocolius macrourus-20090110B
Blue-naped mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Coraciimorphae
Order: Coliiformes
Murie, 1872
Family: Coliidae
Swainson, 1837
Genera

Colius
Urocolius
For fossil taxa, see text.

Description

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.[3] 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 (pamprodactyl feet). They also have crests and stubby bills.

Behaviour and ecology

Mousebirds are gregarious, again reinforcing the analogy with mice, and are found in bands of about 20 in lightly wooded country. These birds build cup-shaped twig nests in trees, which are lined with grasses. Two to four eggs are typically laid, hatching to give altricial young which develop quickly and soon leave the nest and acquire flight.

Systematics and evolution

The mousebirds could be considered "living fossils" as the 6 species extant today are merely the survivors of a lineage that was massively more diverse in the early Paleogene and Miocene. There are comparatively abundant fossils of Coliiformes, but it has not been easy to assemble a robust phylogeny. The family is documented to exist from the Early Paleocene onwards; by at least the Late Eocene, two families are known to have existed, the extant Coliidae and the longer-billed prehistorically extinct Sandcoleidae.[2]

The latter were previously a separate order,[4] but eventually it was realized that they had come to group ancestral Coraciiformes, the actual sandcoleids and forms like Neanis together in a paraphyletic assemblage. Even though the sandcoleids are now assumed to be monophyletic following the removal of these taxa, many forms cannot be conclusively assigned to one family or the other.[5] The genus Selmes, for example, is probably a coliid, but only distantly related to the modern genera.[6]

Taxonomy

Order COLIIFORMES[7][8]

  • Genus †Botauroides parvus Shufeldt 1915 (Eocene of Wyoming, US)
  • Genus †Eobucco brodkorbi Feduccia & Martin 1976 - sandcoleid?
  • Genus †Eocolius walkeri Dyke & Waterhouse 2001 (London Clay Early Eocene of Walton-on-the-Naze, England) - sandcoleid or coliid
  • Genus †Limnatornis Milne-Edwards 1871 (Early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy, France) - coliid? (Urocolius?)
    • L. consobrinus Milne-Edwards 1871 [Picus consobrinus; Urocolius consobrinus]
    • L. paludicola Milne-Edwards 1871 [Urocolius paludicola]
    • L. archiaci [Picus archiaci; Urocolius archiaci] (Early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy, France)
  • Coliiformes gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene of Kohfidisch, Austria)[9]
  • Genus †Uintornis Marsh 1872 - sandcoleid?
    • U. lucaris Brodkorb 1971
    • U. marionae Feduccia & Martin 1976
  • Family †Chascacocoliidae Zelenkov & Dyke 2008
    • Genus †Chascacocolius Houde & Olson 1992 (Late Paleocene ?- Early Eocene) - basal? sandcoleid?
      • C. oscitans Houde & Olson 1992
      • C. cacicirostris Mayr 2005
  • Family †Selmeidae Zelenkov & Dyke 2008
    • Genus †Selmes absurdipes Peters 1999 (Middle Eocene ?-Late Oligocene of C Europe) - coliid? (synonym of Primocolius?)
  • Family †Sandcoleidae Houde & Olson 1992 sensu Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2004
    • Genus †Sandcoleus copiosus Houde & Olson 1992 (Paleocene)
    • Genus †Anneavis anneae Houde & Olson 1992
    • Genus †Eoglaucidium pallas Fischer 1987
    • Genus †Tsidiiyazhi abini Ksepka et al., 2017
  • Family Coliidae Swainson 1837 sensu Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré 2004
    • Genus †Primocolius Mourer-Chauviré 1988 (Late Eocene/Oligocene of Quercy, France)
      • P. sigei Mourer-Chauviré 1988
      • P. minor Mourer-Chauviré 1988
    • Genus †Oligocolius Mayr 2000 (Early Oligocene of Frauenweiler, Germany)
      • O. brevitarsus Mayr 2000
      • O. psittacocephalon Mayr 2013
    • Genus †Masillacolius brevidactylus Mayr & Peters 1998 (middle Eocene of Messel, Germany)
    • Subfamily Coliinae
      • Genus Urocolius (2 species)
      • Genus Colius [Necrornis Milne-Edwards 1871] (4 species)
        • C. hendeyi Vickers-Rich & Haarhoff 1985
        • C. palustris (Milne-Edwards 1871) Ballmann 1969 [Necrornis palustris Milne-Edwards 1871]
        • C. castanotus Verreaux & Verreaux 1855 (Red-backed mousebird)
        • C. colius (Linnaeus 1766) (White-backed mousebird)
        • C. leucocephalus Reichenow 1879 (White-headed mousebird)
        • C. striatus Gmelin 1789 (Speckled mousebird)
      • The only known species of Necrornis (Milne-Edwards, 1871) (Middle Miocene of Sansan, La Grive-Saint-Alban, France) was redescribed by Peter Ballmann as Colius palustris in 1969.[10] This treatment was approved by Olson in 1985.[11]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Jarvis, E. D.; Mirarab, S.; Aberer, A. J.; et al. (2014). "Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds". Science. 346 (6215): 1320–1331. doi:10.1126/science.1253451. PMC 4405904. PMID 25504713.
  2. ^ a b Ksepka, D.T.; Stidham, T.A.; Williamson, T.E. (2017). "Early Paleocene landbird supports rapid phylogenetic and morphological diversification of crown birds after the K–Pg mass extinction". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114 (30): 8047–8052. doi:10.1073/pnas.1700188114.
  3. ^ Cunningham-Van Someren, G.R. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-1-85391-186-6.
  4. ^ Houde & Olson (1992)
  5. ^ Mayr & Mourer-Chauviré (1999)
  6. ^ It has a peculiar foot morphology not found in any other bird, with very stubby toes. The specific name absurdipes ("absurd foot") refers to this. The genus name is an anagram of "Messel", where it was first found.
  7. ^ Mikko's Phylogeny Archive [1] Haaramo, Mikko (2007). "Aves [Avialae]– basal birds". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  8. ^ Paleofile.com (net, info) [2]. "Aves". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  9. ^ Similar to Urocolius and Limnatornis (if distinct): Mlíkovský (2002)
  10. ^ Peter Ballmann (1969): Les oiseaux miocènes de La Grive-Saint-Alban (Isère). – Géobios 2: p 157-204.
  11. ^ Storrs Olson (1985): The Fossil Record of Birds In: Avian Biology, No. 8: p. 79–238

References

External links

Blue-naped mousebird

The blue-naped mousebird (Urocolius macrourus), also formerly called the blue-naped coly (Colius macrourus) is found in the wild in the drier regions of East Africa and is also a common pet bird. It is one of the remaining six species of Mousebirds. The term “mousebird” comes from its ability to move along the ground in a way that resembles the scurrying of a mouse.

Colius

Colius is a genus of mousebirds in the family Coliidae. The four species are widely distributed in Africa. Two other African mousebirds are placed in the genus Urocolius.

The genus Colius was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the white-backed mousebird (Colius colius) as the type species.The genus contains the following four species:

A fossil species, Colius hendeyi, was described from Early Pliocene remains found at Langebaanweg in South Africa.

Some Miocene taxa from France were previously assigned to Colius. Of these, only the Middle Miocene "Colius" palustris might plausibly belong there, but it is more often separated in Necrornis. In younger lineages like Passeriformes, extant genera (e.g. Menura and Orthonyx) were around by then, though it must be remembered that simply because two taxa are of same taxonomic rank they do not need to be of the same age. All that can be said is that while it cannot be ruled out that the modern genus Colius was around in Miocene Europe, it more likely evolved later, and probably in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Colius" archiaci, "C." consobrinus and "C." paludicola on the other hand are 3 taxa described from fragmentary remains found at Saint-Gérand-le-Puy. Their taxonomic history is convoluted, being initially described as woodpeckers and variously merged and split. Today it is believed that they might all belong to a species in the modern genus Urocolius, or at least 2 into a prehistoric genus Limnatornis.

Coly (disambiguation)

Coly is a village in the Dordogne department, in France.

Coly may also refer to:

Mousebird, a group of birds

Ferdinand Coly (born 1973), Senegalese footballer

Matar Coly (born 1984), Senegalese footballer

Tim Coly, German rugby union player

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve is a nature reserve at the western limit of the Bronberg in the east of Pretoria, South Africa. It formerly formed a part of the farm Hartbeespoort 304 which belonged to H. W. Struben. On old aerial photographs it is apparent that the flood plain was utilized for crop fields, while the remainder was used for cattle grazing. The reserve constitutes the western part of the Bronberg conservation area, which was declared in 1980. Its highest point is Renosterkop (1,468 m) in the northern part of the reserve.

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

The Groenkloof Nature Reserve, located adjacent to the Fountains Valley at the southern entrance to Pretoria, was the first game sanctuary in Africa. The reserve of 600 ha is managed by the Department of Nature Conservation. The National Heritage Monument is located within the reserve. It is flanked by Christina de Wit Avenue and Nelson Mandela Drive, that separate it from the Voortrekker Monument and Klapperkop Nature Reserves. In aggregate these reserves conserve some 1,400 ha of bankenveld vegetation which is threatened in Gauteng. The reserve is open to day visitors from 5:30 to 19:00 in summer, and 7:00 to 18:00 in winter.

Kleptothermy

Kleptothermy is any form of thermoregulation by which an animal shares in the metabolic thermogenesis of another animal. It may or may not be reciprocal, and occurs in both endotherms and ectotherms. Its most common form is huddling.

Langebaanweg

Langebaanweg is a town on the southwest coast of South Africa, in Western Cape Province.

It is the location of the air force base AFB Langebaanweg.

Langebaanweg has been an important mining center, with its mai minerals consisting of phosphorites, primarily calcium phosphate. The mining uncovered fossils dating from the late Miocene and early Pliocene, approximately 5 million years ago. Fossil species found there include invertebrates and also a type of rhinoceros, as well as a mousebird and a diving petrel. The West Coast Fossil Park includes displays of fossils found in a former phosphate mine. Brett Hendey, formally of the Iziko South African Museum, documented the significance of the Langebaanweg fossil sites.Langebaanweg is also notable as the birthplace of former England cricketer Allan Lamb, who played 79 Tests for his adopted country as well as in the 1987 and 1992 Cricket World Cup Finals.

List of endemic birds of southern Africa

The following is a list of bird species endemic or near-endemic to southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique).

Grey-winged francolin, Scleroptila africanus

Orange River francolin, Scleroptila levaillantoides

Red-billed spurfowl (red-billed francolin), Pternistes adspersus

Cape spurfowl (Cape francolin), Pternistes capensis

Natal spurfowl (Natal francolin), Pternistes natalensis

South African shelduck, Tadorna cana

Cape shoveler, Anas smithii

Hottentot buttonquail, Turnix hottentotta

Knysna woodpecker, Campethera notata

Ground woodpecker, Geocolaptes olivaceus

Acacia pied barbet, Tricholaema leucomelas

Monteiro's hornbill (Damara hornbill), Tockus monteiri

Southern yellow-billed hornbill, Tockus leucomelas

Bradfield's hornbill, Tockus bradfieldi

White-backed mousebird, Colius colius

Cape parrot, Poicephalus robustus

Ruppell's parrot, Poicephalus rueppellii

Rosy-faced lovebird, Agapornis roseicollis

Bradfield's swift, Apus bradfieldi

Knysna turaco, Tauraco corythaix

Ludwig's bustard, Neotis ludwigii

Red-crested korhaan, Eupodotis ruficrista

Southern black korhaan (black bustard), Afrotis afra (Eupodotis afra)

Northern black korhaan (white-quilled bustard), Afrotis afraoides (Eupodotis afraoides)

Ruppell's korhaan, Eupodotis rueppellii

Karoo korhaan, Eupodotis vigorsii

Blue korhaan, Eupodotis caerulescens

Blue crane, Anthropoides paradiseus

Namaqua sandgrouse, Pterocles namaqua

Double-banded sandgrouse, Pterocles bicinctus

Burchell's sandgrouse, Pterocles burchelli

Burchell's courser, Cursorius rufus

Hartlaub's gull, Larus hartlaubii

Cape vulture, Gyps coprotheres

Black harrier, Circus maurus

Southern pale chanting goshawk, Melierax canorus

Forest buzzard, Buteo trizonatus

Jackal buzzard, Buteo rufofuscus

Crowned cormorant, Phalacrocorax coronatus

Bank cormorant, Phalacrocorax neglectus

Southern bald ibis, Geronticus calvus

African penguin, Spheniscus demersus

Southern tchagra, Tchagra tchagra

Southern boubou, Laniarius ferrugineus

Crimson-breasted shrike, Laniarius atrococcineus

Bokmakierie, Telophorus zeylonus

Olive bushshrike, Telophorus olivaceus

White-tailed shrike, Lanioturdus torquatus

Cape batis, Batis capensis

Pririt batis, Batis pririt

Southern white-crowned shrike, Eurocephalus anguitimens

Cape rockjumper, Chaetops frenatus

Drakensberg rockjumper, Chaetops aurantius

Cape penduline tit, Anthoscopus minutus

Carp's tit, Parus carpi

Ashy tit, Parus cinerascens

Grey tit, Parus afer

African red-eyed bulbul, Pycnonotus nigricans

Cape bulbul, Pycnonotus capensis

Fairy flycatcher, Stenostira scita

Rockrunner, Achaetops pycnopygius

Cape grassbird, Sphenoeacus afer

Victorin's warbler, Bradypterus victorini

Karoo eremomela, Eremomela gregalis

Knysna warbler, Bradypterus sylvaticus

Barratt's warbler, Bradypterus barratti

Black-faced babbler, Turdoides melanops

Southern pied babbler, Turdoides bicolor

Bush blackcap, Lioptilus nigricapillus

Layard's tit-babbler, Parisoma layardi

Chestnut-vented tit-babbler, Parisoma subcaeruleum

Cape white-eye, Zosterops virens

Orange River white-eye, Zosterops pallidus

Grey-backed cisticola, Cisticola subruficapillus

Rufous-winged cisticola, Cisticola galactotes

Cloud cisticola, Cisticola textrix

Black-chested prinia, Prinia flavicans

Karoo prinia, Prinia maculosa

Drakensberg prinia, Prinia hypoxantha

Namaqua warbler, Phragmacia substriata

Robert's warbler, Oreophilais robertsi

Rufous-eared warbler, Malcorus pectoralis

Rudd's apalis, Apalis ruddi

Chirinda apalis, Apalis chirindensis

Barred wren-warbler, Calamonastes fasciolatus

Cinnamon-breasted warbler, Euryptila subcinnamomea

Monotonous lark, Mirafra passerina

Melodious lark, Mirafra cheniana

Cape clapper lark, Mirafra apiata

Eastern clapper lark, Mirafra fasciolata

Sabota lark (incl. Bradfield's), Mirafra sabota

Fawn-coloured lark, Calendulauda africanoides

Rudd's lark, Heteromirafra ruddi

Red lark, Certhilauda burra

Karoo lark, Certhilauda albescens

Barlow's lark, Certhilauda barlowi

Dune lark, Certhilauda erythrochlamys

Cape long-billed lark, Certhilauda curvirostris

Agulhas long-billed lark, Certhilauda brevirostris

Eastern long-billed lark, Certhilauda semitorquata

Karoo long-billed lark, Certhilauda subcoronata

Short-clawed lark, Certhilauda chuana

Gray's lark, Ammomanes grayi

Spike-heeled lark, Chersomanes albofasciata

Black-eared sparrow-lark, Eremopterix australis

Grey-backed sparrow-lark, Eremopterix verticalis

Stark's lark, Eremalauda starki

Pink-billed lark, Spizocorys conirostris

Botha's lark, Spizocorys fringillaris

Sclater's lark, Spizocorys sclateri

Large-billed lark, Galerida magnirostris

Cape rock thrush, Monticola rupestris

Sentinel rock thrush, Monticola explorator

Short-toed rock thrush Monticola brevipes

Karoo thrush Turdus smithi

Chat flycatcher, Bradornis infuscatus

Marico flycatcher, Bradornis mariquensis

Fiscal flycatcher, Sigelus silens

White-throated robin-chat, Cossypha humeralis

Chorister robin-chat, Cossypha dichroa

Brown scrub robin, Cercotrichas signata

Kalahari scrub robin, Cercotrichas paena

Karoo scrub robin, Cercotrichas coryphaeus

Herero chat, Namibornis herero

Buff-streaked chat, Oenanthe bifasciata

Mountain wheatear, Oenanthe monticola

Sickle-winged chat, Cercomela sinuata

Karoo chat, Cercomela schlegelii

Tractrac chat, Cercomela tractrac

Anteating chat, Myrmecocichla formicivora

Boulder chat, Pinarornis plumosus

Pale-winged starling, Onychognathus nabouroup

Burchell's starling, Lamprotornis australis

Pied starling, Spreo bicolor

Gurney's sugarbird, Promerops gurneyi

Cape sugarbird, Promerops cafer

Orange-breasted sunbird, Anthobaphes violacea

Southern double-collared sunbird, Cinnyris chalybea

Greater double-collared sunbird, Cinnyris afra

Neergaard's sunbird, Cinnyris neergaardi

Dusky sunbird, Cinnyris fusca

Great sparrow, Passer motitensis

Cape sparrow, Passer melanurus

Cape longclaw, Macronyx capensis

Yellow-breasted pipit, Anthus chloris

African rock pipit, Anthus crenatus

Scaly-feathered finch, Sporopipes squamifrons

Sociable weaver, Philetairus socius

Cape weaver, Ploceus capensis

Pink-throated twinspot, Hypargos margaritatus

Swee waxbill, Estrilda melanotis

Red-headed finch, Amadina erythrocephala

Shaft-tailed whydah, Vidua regia

Forest canary, Crithagra scotops

Lemon-breasted canary, Crithagra citrinipectus

Yellow canary, Crithagra flaviventris

White-throated canary, Crithagra albogularis

Protea canary, Crithagra leucoptera

Cape siskin, Crithagra totta

Drakensberg siskin, Crithagra symonsi

Cape canary, Serinus canicollis

Black-headed canary, Serinus alario

Lark-like bunting, Emberiza impetuani

Cape bunting, Emberiza capensis

Nature's Valley

Nature's Valley is a holiday resort and small village on the Garden Route along the southern Cape coast of South Africa. Nature's Valley lies between the Salt River, the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, the Indian Ocean and the Groot River lagoon. Nature's Valley has a balmy climate and is surrounded by the de Vasselot Nature Reserve which is part of the Tsitsikamma Park, and in turn part of the Garden Route National Park.

Palaeospiza bella

Palaeospiza bella is a bird which was originally considered a Passerine but is now included in Mousebirds or Coliiformes. Palaeospiza bella fossils have been found in what is now North America from the late Eocene.

Red-backed mousebird

The red-backed mousebird (Colius castanotus) is a species of bird in the Coliidae family.

It is found in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name mousebird is based on bird's soft feathers with texture similar to a mouse's fur. The red-backed mousebird got its name from the red or chestnut color patch on its back.

Red-faced mousebird

The red-faced mousebird (Urocolius indicus) is a species of mousebird or coly. It is a common in southern Africa from Zaire, Zambia and Tanzania south to the Cape. Its habitat is savanna with thickets, fynbos scrub, other open woodland, gardens and orchards.This bird is about 34 cm (13 inches) long, with the tail comprising approximately half the length. The crested head and breast are pale cinnamon with a red bill and eye mask. The rest of the upperparts and tail are blue-grey apart from a paler grey rump. The belly is whitish. The sexes are similar, but juveniles lack the crest and have a green mask. Their call is tree-ree-ree whistle, and regularly called in multiple repetitions. Red-faced mousebirds make the same call whether in-flight or perched.The red-faced mousebird is a frugivore which subsists on fruits, berries, leaves, seeds and nectar. Its flight is typically fast, strong and direct from one feeding area to another.

This is a social bird outside the breeding season, feeding together in small groups, normally of about half a dozen birds, but sometimes up to 15 or more. They fly and interact in tight collections. It engages in mutual preening and roosts in groups at night. It is more wary than other mousebirds.

These sedentary birds breed between June to February. The nest is a large untidy cup of plant material lined with material such as sheep wool. The clutch is 2-6 eggs which hatch in about two weeks.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 4

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Speckled mousebird

The speckled mousebird (Colius striatus) is the largest species of mousebird, as well as one of the most common.

U. macrourus

U. macrourus may refer to:

Urocolius macrourus, the blue-naped mousebird, a bird species

Urotriorchis macrourus, the long-tailed hawk, a bird of prey species

Urocolius

Urocolius is a small genus of mousebirds. It consists of two species which inhabit Eastern and Southern Africa:

Blue-naped mousebird, Urocolius macrourus

Red-faced mousebird, Urocolius indicusThey are typically about 32 cm (13 in) long omnivorous birds, eating insects, small millipedes and plant material. Urocolius indicus in particular eats a great deal of fruit, leaves, buds, flowers, nectar and similar material."Urocolius" archiaci, "U." consobrinus and "U." paludicola are 3 taxa described from fragmentary Early Miocene remains found at Saint-Gérand-le-Puy in France. Their taxonomic history is convoluted, being initially described as woodpeckers and variously merged and split. Today it is believed that they at least 2 belong into a prehistoric genus Limnatornis, but sometimes they are all united under the first of the 3 names although it is not clear with what justification. The same rationales presumably apply for undescribed but similar remains found in Late Miocene strata af Kohfidisch (Austria).

White-backed mousebird

The white-backed mousebird (Colius colius) is a large species of mousebird. It is distributed in western and central regions of southern Africa from Namibia and southern Botswana eastwards to Central Transvaal and the eastern Cape.

This mousebird prefers scrubby dry habitats, such as thornveld, fynbos scrub and semi-desert.

This bird is about 34 cm (13.5 in) long, with the tail comprising approximately half the length, and weighs 38–64 g (1.3–2.3 oz). The upper parts, head, prominent crest and breast are grey apart from a white back stripe flanked by two broad black stripes and a dark red, or maroon, transverse band at the base of the tail. The white is not visible unless the wings are at least partly open, such as when the birds are alighting, or sometimes in hot weather. The belly is buff in colour. The bill is bluish white with a black tip, and the legs and feet are red.

The speckled mousebird can be distinguished from this species by its differently coloured beak, legs and upperparts.

The white-backed mousebird is a frugivore which subsists on fruits, berries, leaves, seeds and nectar. It also will feed on the buds of some plants, sometimes to the extent of stripping the branches of ornamentals such as fiddlewoods. Its feeding habits make it very unpopular with fruit farmers and domestic gardeners, which might be why it is very shy as a rule. When it spots a human it either sits quietly in a tree or takes off immediately. Sometimes it will settle on lawns when the grass is flowering and feed on the grass stigmata and stamens. In the wild its fruit-eating habits are an important factor in disseminating seeds of indigenous berry-producing plants such as Halleria lucida. However, it also spreads the seeds of invasive aliens such as Cotoneaster.

In handling mousebirds the tail should be avoided, as the long retrices come out so easily as to suggest that it is a sacrificial defence mechanism.

This is a markedly social bird, with small groups of presumably related birds feeding together and engaging in mutual preening. It roosts in groups at night. Its perching habits are amusingly parrot-like; it often almost hangs from its legs rather than squatting on them like most birds, and commonly with each leg gripping a different upright branch.

These sedentary birds may breed at any time of the year when conditions are favourable. The nest is a large cup well hidden in a thicket. Nestlings are fed by both parents and also by helpers, usually young birds from previous clutches.

The white-backed mousebird has a whistled zwee-wewit call. It also has a buzzing or crackling call that might be for alarm or keeping in contact with the group.

The white-backed mousebird (Colius colius) is a large species of mousebird.

White-headed mousebird

The white-headed mousebird (Colius leucocephalus) is a bird belonging to the mousebird family, Coliidae. It is found only in east Africa where it occurs in southern Somalia and parts of Kenya with its range just extending into southern Ethiopia and northern Tanzania. It inhabits arid bushland up to 1,400 metres above sea-level.

It is 32 cm long with the long, graduated tail accounting for over half of this. The plumage is mainly greyish with black and white barring on the back, neck and breast. It has a white crest, crown and cheeks. There is a white stripe down the back which becomes visible when the bird flies. Around the eye is a patch of dark, bare skin. The bill is bluish-white above and buff below. In juvenile birds, the throat and breast are buff. The northern subspecies (C. l. turneri) is darker than the southern form (C. l. leucocephalus).

The contact call is a scratchy chattering and the bird also has a descending song.

Wildlife of Nigeria

The wildlife of Nigeria consists of the flora and fauna of this country in West Africa. Nigeria has a wide variety of different habitats, ranging from mangrove swamps and tropical rainforest to savanna with scattered clumps of trees. About 290 species of mammal and 940 species of bird have been recorded in the country.

Mousebirds (order: Coliiformes · family: Coliidae)
Genus
Colius
Urocolius
Birds (class: Aves)
Anatomy
Behaviour
Evolution
Fossil birds
Human interaction
Lists
Neornithes

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.