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Mouse birds are small birds that have 6 species in the coliidae family. They were named mousebird because of their resemblance and behavior similar to mice. They are small and have soft gray/brown feathers like mice, and scurry along the ground between bushes and trees. Their long, board-like tails are twice the length of their bodies, they have crested heads, and curved claws that also give them resemblance to another bird, the woodpecker. A reversible outer toe allows them to climb trees easier, however. Mousebirds have short bills and feed on a diet mainly consisting of berries and fruit. Depending on the species, they may also consume leaves, flowers, and nectar. They can be found in orchards, woodlands, and brush country in sub-Saharan Africa. They are actually the only bird confined to the continent.
Mousebirds for sale
Types of Mousebirds
- Blue-naped Mousebird (Colius macrourus)
- Red-faced Mousebird (Colius indicus)
- Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)
- White-backed Mousebird (Colius colius)
- White-headed Mousebird (Colius leucocephalus)
Mousebirds band together in groups of 20 or 30, sleeping together at night to maintain a comfortable temperature, and when they mate, lay between 2-7 eggs per clutch. They are typically off-white and brown speckled. Once hatched, the young mousebirds will be fed partially digested and regurgitated berries and fruit like so many bird species do. Both the male and female partner build and tend to the nest. Nests vary in material and size. Some are shallow cups made of various fibers, and others are lined with leaves and bound together by twigs and roots. Young Mousebird may stay in the nest anywhere from 10-20 days before leaving the nest and becoming independent.
Mousebirds In Captivity
Those that know the bird in captivity well have great things to say about these little companions. The word 'inquisitive' comes to mind and keepers warn of hyperactivity and excitement once you bring your bird home. They will want to be close to their new keeper, so it's important to foster a bond right away by lots of hand holding. Being brought to a new place can cause stress on any new pet, so you can combat that with this species by providing the bird warmth. You can achieve this with a safely distanced heat lamp. Before long, you will have yourself a Mousebird that enjoys hanging out on your shoulder all day!
An interesting Mousebird care fact is that the bird doesn't bathe in water, typical behavior of other birds. In nature, they are accustomed to bathing in sand. You can emulate this behavior by providing the bird with fine “bird litter” or sterilized sand for them to roll in.
Mousebirds have a pleasant song and are even recommended for apartment dwelling where noise is expected to be low. Most breeders have much success with the species, and all who take one home say that their Mousebird quickly became part of the family. Mousebirds live to be as old as 8-10 years in captivity.
Mousebird's population status is considered “stable”, meaning it is not currently an endangered species, however, fossils suggest that the bird's ancestry was much richer than it's 6 specie family is today.