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Mousebird, Speckled

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Mousebird, Speckled

Unread post by 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.

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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.
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arks
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Re: Mousebird, Speckled

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

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

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Niall
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Re: Mousebird, Speckled

Unread post by 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!

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Re: Mousebird, Speckled

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

Bird bath at Lower Sabie, Sept 2009
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Albert
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Re: Mousebird, Speckled

Unread post by Albert » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:07 am

These birds always appear to be a little worried to me....

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Garyd73
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Garyd73 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:31 pm

Can anyone help with this one please, I saw it at Skukuza at beginning of October 2014 but can't find too many birds in my books with long tails like this and the appropriate colour

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DotDan
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by DotDan » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:11 am

Hi Gary, look at the Mousebirds in your book. Only two type of mousebirds occur in the KNP.

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hilda
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by hilda » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:12 am

This is a Speckled Mousebird Garyd73. :thumbs_up:
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hilda
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by hilda » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:14 am

Sorry DotDan! It seems that we were posting simultaneously. :redface:
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Garyd73
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Garyd73 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:59 am

Thanks DotDan and Hilda, it's great to get this one identified finally.
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