Mousebird (Colliidae)

Appearance
There are 3 species of Mousebird found in Kenya.
Crested birds, with short bills and long tails. Legs are short and thick, with strong sharp-clawed toes, the two outer ones being reversible.

Habits
As well as dust-bathing, Mousebirds like to sunbathe, exposing their bellies. They also huddle together at night, to conserve warmth, becoming quite lethargic. They earned their rodent-like names because of their long tails and the way they scurry around branches, often hanging up-side-down, hanging on using sharp claws and bills. They are extra-fast, too, due to their reversible toes. Mousebirds engage in mutual preening and are very gregarious, unless breeding.

Diet
Mousebirds eat fruit, buds, flowers and leaves, making themselves unpopular around farms. Occasionally, they also eat insects.

Resident
Blue-naped Mousebirds are seen all over Kenya, Speckled Mousebirds are seen in central and west Kenya, also in the far east and White-headed Mousebirds are seen around Tsavo, Amboseli and the Marsabit - Samburu areas. They mostly prefer semi-arid areas, although the Speckled Mousebird resides in more moist areas, including gardens.

Extra Mousebird Facts
Due to their short wings, Mousebirds fly in a floppy sort of way, alternating with long glides. They have a habit of working their way up a tree, eating on the way and on reaching the top launch themselves off to the next tree, arriving at the bottom. They would rather climb than have to flap their wings.

Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Nairobi NP.

Blue-naped Mousebird

Blue-naped Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird