1 minute read

Mousebirds: Coliiformes

Behavior And Reproduction

Mousebirds are social and noisy. They live in flocks of six to twenty-four birds. The birds are sedentary, not usually migrating from one area to another. During the day, birds eat, drink water, and take dust baths. Mousebirds travel in flocks to feed. Some birds climb to the top of a tree or bush to begin their flights. Birds fly quickly and land by crashing head-first into plants.

At night, a group of twenty or more birds roost (rest) in a tree. When the temperature drops, the birds enter a form of hibernation called torpor.

Mousebirds divide into pairs to breed. The birds are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus), and breed with the same partner. The mousebird is an asynchronous (ay-SIN-kruh-nus) breeder, one that doesn't lay all eggs at the same time. The female lays a clutch of two to five eggs. However, sometimes there are seven eggs in a nest. The additional eggs usually belong to another female sharing the nest.

Mousebirds usually build nests in hidden places like leaf-covered branches or in thick bushes. The birds sometimes locate their nests near the nests of wasps, insects that have painful stings. Wasps provide protection against predators like snakes and larger birds. These predators hunt mousebirds for food.

After mousebirds breed, the male and female incubate the eggs, sitting on eggs to keep them warm. The mousebird's community behavior can extend to breeding. The couple that mated may be helped by "helper" birds. This is called cooperative breeding. Sometimes other males help guard the nest. These helpers are often the older offspring of the parents.

The eggs hatch in eleven to twelve days, and the birds fledge (grow flying feathers) within ten days to two weeks.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsMousebirds: Coliiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Bar-breasted Mousebird (colius Striatus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MOUSEBIRDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS