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.