Speckled Mousebird, Ethiopia

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

One of the common birds I saw in the grounds of Bingham Academy during our two week stay in Ethiopia last December was the strange Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus). It seems that this odd looking bird is named for its similarity to a mouse, especially its colour. When the feathers are fluffed it is also somewhat similar to a hunched up mouse – or so I think.

There was a family group of about a dozen in the garden and grounds of the school where my daughter was teaching. One of their favourite feeding places was in the jacaranda tree shown in flower in the photos. It was actually a little early for this tree to be flowering. They’d had unseasonably fine and warm weather just before and during our stay. The tree responded by flowering early despite the fact that the calendar said that spring was still a little way off.

Mousebirds feed on fruit, nectar, seeds, leaves and berries. It is found in eastern and southern Africa.

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) Addis Ababa, Etahiopi



4 Responses to “Speckled Mousebird, Ethiopia”

  1. Brenton says:

    Wonderful to catch up with your Ethiopian bird photos, Trevor. Must have been a fascinating visit. Our bird friends are always there to greet us on our travels.

    • Trevor says:

      Thanks Brenton. And there’s plenty more to come – followed by many more taken in Morocco and Spain. Although our holiday was primarily cultural in nature (lots of museums, art galleries, historic buildings, World Heritage Sites etc) I took every opportunity to photograph birds. Still trying to ID some of them!

  2. Louise says:

    Another intriguing bird- it looks such a fluffball! I was so surprised to see the Jacaranda in your pictures. I guess it’s the shock of something recognisable where I don’t expect anything to look familiar at all.

    • Trevor says:

      Yes – we felt almost at home. Jacarandas, bottlebrushes and eucalypts everywhere. In fact, most of the forests around the capital Addis Ababa are eucalyptus trees. The city wouldn’t exist where it is but for the enormous plantings in the 19thC. There’d be no firewood or building materials. Very few native plants exist around the city either. The gums are quick growing and coppice readily, providing more firewood for locals. We also saw huge areas of eucalypts in Morocco and Spain, and I believe Portugal also has large areas of them. The people of Thailand are trying to eliminate eucalypts which grow there like weeds. I also seem to remember that California also has this problem.

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