Cover image by J. Jordaan – Addo Elephant National Park – BirdPix 31413
The Red-faced Mousebird has a slaty-grey head and crest with a pale cinnamon forehead. As its name suggests, it has a distinctive red patch around its eyes which continues to the base of its bill. Its upperparts and long tail are blue-grey. The sexes are similar, but juveniles lack the crest and have a pale mask.
In flight it gives a distinctive high-pitched melodious “ti-wii-wii” call.
The Red-faced Mousebird occurs from southern Angola, Zambia and Malawi, through to southern Africa, where it is common in non-arid areas. The blue and green squares in the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) map below indicates the core of its range in South Africa.
It generally prefers is savanna habitat with thickets, fynbos scrub, open woodland, as well as gardens and orchards.
Red-faced Mousebirds are almost always found in pairs or small groups. Their diet consists mainly of fruit, supplemented with nectar, flowers, and leaves. They typically forage in groups of 3-10, landing in trees and bushes in search of food.
Mousebirds love taking a sand bath! They are social birds and often engage in mutual preening.
They breed throughout the year, but breeding activity peaks during spring and summer (September to February). The nest is a small cup of made of twigs, leaves and stems, and placed 2-8 metres above the ground in a tree or bush.
Red-faced Mousebirds lay 1-7 eggs, which are incubated by the male and female for 14-20 days. The chicks stay in the nest for 14-20 days after hatching, before becoming independent.
Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.
Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).
More common names: Rooiwangmuisvoël (Afrikaans); Intshili (Xhosa); umTshivovo (Zulu); Fariki (South Sotho); Rotzügel-mausvogel (German); Roodwangmuisvogel (Dutch).
Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2022. Red-faced Mousebird Urocolius indicus. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/11/14/red-faced-mousebird-urocolius-indicus/