Mousebird (White-backed)
Mousebird (White-backed)
Mousebird (White-backed)

Mousebird (White-backed)

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The mousebird (white-backed) scientific name Colius colius is a bird originating in South Africa.  Its natural habitat is located in the western and southern areas of the country.  The favored locations are in river bushes or savannas.  The white backed mousebird is one of six species and is classified within its own genus.  The white backed mousebird is named the “Colius,” and the order of the bird is the “Coliiformes.”

Description of the Mousebird (White-backed):
While an otherwise diminutive animal, the mousebird has a tail that is very long.  On the average, the tail is 2/3 of the entire length.  Mousebirds are either brown or gray in color, but may differ in the patches found on their necks or faces.  The patches are found in either a reddish or bluish hue.  The bird has a unique crest, which can cause the bird to look startled when standing erect.  This is due to the fact that the bird’s chest is covered in hairs which are more fur like than feathers.  The remainder of the body is covered in real feathers, which are more dense than most other birds.  In addition, the bird has very small wings, that are sometimes as small as 2 ½ ” in length.  In comparison, the tail feathers are about 9 inches in length giving the bird its characteristic mouse tail.

Interesting Facts concerning the Mousebird (White-backed):
Most people find mousbirds interesting to observe.  The birds are not powerful in flight and their in flight time is generally short.  Their flight pattern is often awkward.  It often appears that the bird is flying at an object.  When ready to land, they simply grasp the object and cling to the surface.  This hanging behavior is considered distinctive among this species.  Although they have the ability to perch, thes birds seem pt prefer hanging.  If the bird chooses to perch, it appears to be lying rather than standing.  In the hanging position, the bird may eat or groom.  At times, they hang like bats and may crawl along enclosures rather than flying.  On land, the bird travels in a hopping gait that can be humorous to view.  A part of their curious behavior is observed when investigating new objects.  The bird uses the beak to test out the new object while creating a “meep noise.”  The bird will peck at the new object and stand the crest on the chest in an erect position, a sign of excitement.

Mousebirds do well in captivity and are often kept as pets.  They may be kept in aviaries or cages, but the cages should be large enough to accommodate the tail.  Cages should have horizontal bars that allow the bird to climb.  Food should be kept near water, as these birds prefer to moisten their food, both in nature and in captivity.

Breeding the Mousebird (White-backed):

The breeding of Mousebirds requires a lot of space.  The enclosure should be large enough to allow for privacy if wanting the birds to mate.  Adding potted plants is an excellent way to increase the privacy and the likelihood that the birds will mate.  Additionally, there should be adequate support for nesting.  Mousebirds commonly use tree bark and twigs to build nests.  These materials need to be included in the enclosure for successful breeding of the birds.

After a successful mating, the Mousebird (white-backed) will lay 2 to 4 eggs.  Once the eggs have been laid, both male and female mousebird will sit on the nest to provide necessary heat for incubation.  The baby mousebirds take only two weeks to hatch from the eggs.  The chicks that emerge from the egg will, for a short time period eat food gathered and regurgitated by the parents.  It is important during this early stage of the chick’s life o ensure that plenty of food is provided in order for the new family of birds to survive and thrive.