Mousebirds get their name from their soft fluffy greyish or brownish feathers that look more like fur than feathers, and from their mouse-like habits when they scurry through bushes in search of food. Although we occasionally get Red-faced Mousebirds visiting when there is a lot of fruit available, Speckled Mousebirds (Colius striatus) are resident in our garden throughout the year.

I find them difficult to photograph in the garden for they usually forage in the middle to upper tree canopy. This means that they tend to be hidden in the trees above my head. The tables were turned this morning though as I spotted them from my upstairs window!

Let us take a closer look at them:

Note the short crest, which gives the bird a rather jaunty appearance. In this portrait you can also clearly see the strong, decurved (curved downwards) bill with the distinctive blackish upper mandible and the white lower one.

Look at the fine barring of the mantle and breast of this bird.

This Speckled Mousebird stayed out of the foliage long enough to show off its long tail. The Colius part of their name is a reference to their long, slender tails resembling a sheath or scabbard.


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