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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Coliidae (mousebirds)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Coliiformes

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Colius colius (White-backed mousebird) 

The White-backed mousebird is endemic, being found mainly in South Africa and Namibia. It prefers to live in sparse woodland, often with a river nearby, also farmyards, gardens and orchards. It eats plant matter - mainly fruit but also leaves, flowers, shoots and nectar. The nest is built by both sexes, and is a scruffy bowl made of twigs, leaves and grass. It lays 1-6 eggs, which are incubated by both parents, for 11-13 days. Strangely, the chicks are brooded non-stop, from when they hatch to when they leave the nest. In captivity, the chicks stay in the nest for 11-20 days, becoming independent at about 21 days old.

Colius striatus (Speckled mousebird) 

The Speckled mousebird is common in South Africa and Mozambique, where it is common in suburban gardens. It is highly adaptable, and can be found in many types of habitats. It feeds on plant matter, mainly fruit, but also leaves, nectar and buds. The breeding pair is helped by 2-6 helpers, normally half of which are not related. The nest is a small bowl of grass, lined with soft material. It lays 1-7 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 12-15 days. The nestlings start to explore the branches surrounding the nest at 10-11 days, staying in the nest for the first 4-10 days more, after which they become independent.

Urocolius indicus (Red-faced mousebird) 

The Red-faced mousebird is locally common in all countries in southern Africa, and lives in a wide variety of habitats. It feeds mainly on fruit, with flowers largely making up the rest of its diet. The nest is a small cup of twigs, leaves and stems, placed 2-8 metres above ground in a tree or bush. It lays 1-7 eggs, which are incubated for 14-20 days, by both sexes and sometimes a helper. The chicks are brooded for the first few days of their life, sometimes by both adults at once. They stay in the nest for 14-20 days, before becoming independent.