Skip to Content

Mousebird, Speckled

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

Moderator: hilda

User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2600
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Mousebird, Speckled

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Fri May 02, 2008 12:04 am

The Speckled Mousebird, Colius striatus, is quite gregarious and very social. They engage in mutual preening and feed together in groups. They scamper mouse-like along branches and climb using their bills and feet. They can also be seen dust bathing on the ground where sometimes they eat soil, possibly for the minerals and swallow pebbles to assist digestion. They are fond of sunbathing, often conspicuously perched to catch the first rays of the morning sun.

They feed on fruit, leaves, seeds, nectar and berries.

Image
Large view

Mousebirds clusters to sleep between sunset and sunrise. They have also been seen to cluster during the day, even at high ambient temperature. Whereas clustering at night and during cold, wet weather allows the birds to maintain body temperature at a reduced metabolic cost, clustering during the day is probably related to maintenance of social bonds within the flock. Group roosting also helps protect them against predators.

This mousebird prefers open bushveld habitats. It is widespread in savanna and open woodlands, as well as areas with tangled thickets. It is a common "backyard bird", often seen in urban areas if they contain gardens and orchards. They are generally the first birds to arrive at the fruit feeding station after we put out any soft fruit, apples, pears and papaya being firm favourites.

They may breed at any time of the year. The nest is a relatively large and untidy cup comprised of vegetable and animal material, sometimes including cloth and paper and is constructed by both the male and female. The clutch usually averages around 3 or 4 eggs. Nestlings are fed not only by both parents but also by juveniles from previous clutches. The incubation period takes 14 days and the offspring will leave the nest for the first time at about 17 or 18 days. After a little over a month, the nestlings will begin foraging for themselves.

They have a live expectancy of close to 10 years. They fall prey to eagles, falcons and owls.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

User avatar
arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 4105
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

Re: Mousebird, Speckled

Unread postby arks » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:41 pm

Saw this speckled mousebird feasting at Letaba on 14 October 2008.

Image
RSA 2014
20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling

User avatar
Niall
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 314
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:10 pm
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Re: Mousebird, Speckled

Unread postby Niall » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:25 pm

I have always used leg colour as an instant ID feature to separate this and White-backed Mousebirds in the field. I was in Uganda recently, in and area where they only get Speckled and Blue-naped Mousebirds. I saw this bird, which was definitely not Blue-naped, but with red legs, I was sure couldn't be Speckled! A bit of reading the text, I found out that the East African birds do indeed have red legs!

Image

Cheers

Niall.

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 45338
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: Somerset West, Cape Town

Re: Mousebird, Speckled

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:57 pm

Bird bath at Lower Sabie, Sept 2009
Image
Sawubona
Dalene


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”