Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)

The Blue-naped Mousebird is a medium sized bird, 14" (35cm), its slender tail comprising half the length. Similar in appearance to the Speckled Mousebird. It is a pale ash grey, with lighter colour neck and throat and darker primary flight feathers and tail. It has a prominent grey crest and pink, or red facial skin and bill (the latter with black on the lower part), with brown eyes. The lower half of its legs are dark red, with blackish claws. Its most distinguishing feature is, of course, its blue nape.

The Blue-naped Mousebird is a gregarious bird, often found in groups, although a pair nest alone, with both building a very untidy cup-shaped nest. Unusually, they are assisted in the feeding of their chicks by juveniles from previous clutches. It has a very strong, direct flight between trees.

The Blue-naped Mousebird eats buds, leaves, flowers and fruits, making them very unpopular with farmers. Occasionally, they also eat insects - and swallow pebbles, to assist in grinding up vegetation as they digest it.

The Blue-naped Mousebird is locally common in many areas of Kenya, where there is arid bush, savannah or particularly acacia woodlands.

Extra Facts
As soon as the Blue-naped Mousebird opens its beak, it makes the most awful racket - a songbird it isn't. Its call is a "pyeeu, pyeeu, pyeeu" or longer "pyeeeeeeeu". Mousebirds are one of the most infuriating birds to capture on camera. They derive their name from their colour, long tail, their habit of scurrying along branches using both their feet and bills, and hanging upside-down or assuming other unusual feeding positions. Their two reversible outer toes also enhance their agility in bushes. In short, they just don't sit still for long enough to focus on...! Unless, one can view them sunbathing, exposing their bellies - or dust-bathing in sandy areas.

Photographed in Kenya's Nairobi National Park.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, blue-naped mousebird, kenya, mousebird, wildlife

Blue-naped Mousebird

Blue-naped Mousebird perched, on tree branch.

Blue-naped Mousebird ~ Perched

Blue-naped Mousebird, perched on the branch of a dead tree.