Thursday, 9 December 2010

White-backed mousebird

Colius colius

Common name:
white-backed mousebird (en); rabo-de-junco-de-dorso-branco (pt); coliou à dos blanc (fr); pájaro-ratón dorsiblanco (es); weißrücken-mausvogel (de)

Order Coliiformes
Family Coliidae

This African species is found in the western half of South Africa, in Namibia, Botswana and along the southernmost parts of Angola.

This large mousebird is 34 cm long, with the tail comprising approximately half the length. They have a wingspan of 34-38 cm and can weigh up to 82 g.

The white-backed mousebird prefers scrubby dry habitats, including thornveld, fynbos scrub, savanna and semi-desert. They may also be found along forest edges, and in farmland, gardens and orchards.

These frugivorous birds subsist mostly on fruits and berries, but can also eat seeds, leaves, shoots, flowers and nectar.

This sedentary birds may breed at any time of the year when the conditions are favourable. The nest is built by both sexes, a scruffy bowl made of twigs, leaves and grasses, generally well hidden in a thicket. Each clutch consists of 2-6 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 11-13 days. They young remain in the nest for 2-3 weeks and continue to be fed until they are 4-6 weeks old. They are fed by both parents and also by helpers, usually young birds from previous clutches.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The white-backed mousebird as a large breeding range. Although the population size has not been quantified, they are described as fairly common within their range. The species is not considered threatened at present.

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