CREATURE FEATURE: Speckled Mousebird

The Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) is an African bird named after their soft, mouse-like feathers that look like fur.

Their head and crest are mousy brown, with white cheeks, while the area around each eye is dark brown or black. Their legs and feet are dark pink.

Speckled Mousebirds  can grow to about 35 centimetres (14 inches).

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebirds like open bush and woodlands, and feed on fruit, berries, leaves, flowers, and seeds.

Both the male and female construct their nest out of vegetation. Females lay an average of 3-4 eggs, which are incubated for approximately 14 days.

Both the male and female look after their chicks, which usually leave the nest when they are about 18 days old.

Interestingly, on cold nights they go into a state called temporary torpor in which they are in suspended animation – their heart rate slows down and they are in semi-hibernation until morning. Only hummingbirds, nighthawks, and mousebirds do this.

 

 

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

 

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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