This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond.
July’s bird of the month is die Speckled Mousebird or Colius striatus.
Photograph by Eric Stockenstroom
Colouring: Iris brown; bill black above, bluish white below; legs and feet purplish brown to dull red. Tail long, pointed; almost uniform brown; face black.
Voice: Harsh zik, zik alarm notes; sharp chee chee, chik chik, probably contact call.
Habitat: Bushveld, tangled thickets, edges of dense vegetation, gardens, orchards.
Distribution: Mainly in the southern and eastern parts of South Africa.
Habits: Usually gregarious in flocks of 5-20 birds. Flies fast and straight with rapid wingbeats alternating with stiff-winged glides; on landing, crashes into bush or tree. Hangs below perch; forages by clambering mouselike about branches. Roosts from just before sunset in bunches in bush or tree; departs just after sunrise. Dust-bathes frequently.
Food: Fruit, leaves, seeds, nectar; occassionally insects (mainly termites).
Breeding season: Mostly September to January, throughout South Africa.
Incubation and fledging: Clutch: 1-7 white or cream eggs. Incubation: 12-15 days by both sexes. Nestling: 17-18 days. Fed by regurgitation; parents eat faeces of young.
References: Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.