07 April, 2010


Back to mid-February, when the fig tree still had voluptuous leaves for Bathsheba to bath in/on. And luscious fruit. This tree is just outside our kitchen window and the Ungardener was playing with his new zoom lens. 

A MOUSEbird because it climbs around in the trees, hand over hand like a monkey (or a parrot?) not hopping sparrow-like along the branches as we expect All Birds To Do.

No longer sure which species we had in the Camps Bay garden, but this one is new to us. Redfaced mousebird - as you can see so clearly in the Ungardener’s photos. A reward for standing patiently, lurking in the bird hide, sorry, kitchen.

From Joy Frandsen’s Birds of the South Western Cape
Urocolius indicus 33cm
The cere and upper mandible are crimson red, as is the bare skin surrounding the dark grey eyes. Widely distributed in SW Cape, but least numerous of the 3 species. Found wherever there are trees, even in built up areas. Sociable gregarious birds found in parties. Called mousebirds for their hair like plumage. When alarmed, they will crawl to the top of the tree, and fly off, one by one.

And from Biodiversityexplorer   
Feeds on fruit, and flowers. And are in their turn, eaten by, falcons and owls. Prefers to live in Acacia (thorn trees), woodlands near rivers, orchards, and gardens.

Wonder what indicus means? Indian. And also Ethiopian, you know, that country, called Africa. 

See - thru the Y in Eye -
 Tail used as a flying buttress while feeding  

And are there mousebirds elsewhere in this world we live in?

From Wikipedia
May be distantly related to parrots and cockatoos. Found only in sub-Saharan Africa. 10cm of bird, and another 20cm of tail  Can feed upside down (so there!) ‘Living fossils’

Photos by Jurg, words by Diana of  Elephant's Eye 


  1. Amazing, Diana. That eye is striking. I have seen one local bird feeding upside down on my bird feeder, but only because the bigger birds won't give him a chance to get in there otherwise, so he hangs on the bottom and gets creative. ;)

    2000 + is also amazing... no wonder I feel so behind on my garden blog reading!

  2. Those look like fun birds to watch! Thanks for the photos.

    Und was fuer Kommentare in welche Richtung koennte man denn sonst noch dazufuegen?

  3. What an interesting bird. I was quite taken by the idea that they would climp into the top of a tree and take off one by one when disturbed. Very discreet of them!

  4. Meredith - I admit I haven't actually SEEN them feeding upside-down.

    Town Mouse - first to notice the German! One of my Pink Ribbon posts I mentioned Sinister, and all the comments peeled off in that direction.

    Gippsland - bit like watching beads spill off the end of a broken string.

  5. very interesting bird, certainly not seen in my part of the world

  6. A most interesting bird. Our nuthatches, much smaller and drabber, also feed upside down. This bird looks pretty intelligent to me.

  7. Your mousebird is beautiful. I would hole up in a hidie and watch him for hours! He is obviously intelligent, and those figs look yummy!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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