Red-faced mousebird

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Red-faced mousebird
Red-faced Mousebird (Urocolius indicus) hanging in tree, front view.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coliiformes
Family: Coliidae
Genus: Urocolius
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.[2]

This bird is about 34 cm (13 inches) long, with the tail comprising approximately half the length.[2] 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. Their call is tree-ree-ree whistle, and regularly called in multiple repetitions.[2] Red-faced mousebirds make the same call whether in-flight or perched.[2]

The red-faced mousebird is a frugivore which subsists on fruits, berries, leaves, seeds and nectar.[2] 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. They fly and interact in tight collections.[2] It engages in mutual preening and roosts in groups at night. It is more wary than other mousebirds.

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.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Urocolius indicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Newman, Vanessa (2010). Newman's Birds of Southern Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Pippa Parker. p. 274. ISBN 9781770078765.
  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1

External links[edit]