Red-faced mousebird

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Red-faced mousebird
Red-faced Mousebird (Urocolius indicus) hanging in tree, front view.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coliiformes
Family: Coliidae
Genus: Urocolius
Species: U. indicus
Binomial name
Urocolius indicus
(Latham, 1790)
Urocolius indicus
Red-faced mousebird Urocolius indicus in flight

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.

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. It engages in mutual preening and roosts in groups at night. It is more wary than other mousebirds. The red-faced mousebird has a whistled tsee-tee-tee call.

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.

References[edit]

  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1

External links[edit]