Mousebirds (or speckled mousebird to be more precise) are normally found in forest edges, thickets, orchards, riverine woodland and alien tree plantations, but they are also very common in suburban gardens, like mine!
They are notoriously shy and fly away at the slightest noise. In the summer, they are well camouflaged by the foliage on the trees. In the winter they are much easier to see. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen them come into the front garden. The other day, as the afternoon sun was dipping behind the garden wall, they came to play on the garden furniture. Soon, about 6 of them came to settle in one of the bushes in the garden outside the dining room window.
I watched them for about 15 minutes through the window, as I’d never seen them so close (about 2m). Then I opened the window slowly (which squeaks a great deal) and managed to get some shots of them through the open window. If I’d gone outside, they would have flown away immediately!
They also have strong feet with widely spaced toes (you can see them in this shot), which they are able to rotate to face forward to allow them to feed upside down, hold food with their feet, and perch with their legs positioned at strange angles.
Another mousebird shot, this time showing their incredible tails (which can be 20 – 24 cm long) and how they look when you see them front on. The white bits on their beaks make them look so grumpy from this angle, hence the reason I call them comical.
But most of all I love their haircuts! They are so very funky, almost punk-like! I bet they don’t have to spend hours applying gel to make it stand up like that!