restricted access Mousebirds
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Red-faced Mousebird L: 34 cm (13") A slaty-grey, rather rotund, long-tailed mousebird with a naked red facial patch and red feet . The tail is sleeker and longer than that of Speckled Mousebird, giving it a more streamlined flight . There is also a pale patch on the rump which can be seen as a bird flies away . This species is common and widespread in Kruger, although seemingly less abundant than Speckled Mousebird . It is somewhat nomadic, preferring woodlands and camps with suitable fruit and nectar; flowering aloes are especially favoured . In flight it gives a distinctive high-pitched “ti-wii-wii” call . Mousebirds 92 Speckled Mousebird L: 32 cm ( 13") From a distance, a brownish-grey, dumpybodied , short-legged bird with a long, scruffy tail . Close views reveal a buff belly, blackish face and ashy crest, and a very small bill . This mousebird is often seen creeping and scrambling through bushes and tangles, hanging on its short legs . In flight, it flutters almost desperately but quite fast, with its tail seeming to drag it down, as if it were too heavy to make it to the next bush . Small groups of these social birds are common throughout Kruger, feeding on fruit, leaves, flowers and nectar . They are sometimes seen hanging upside-down by their dull purplish feet, exposing the black skin on their bellies to absorb heat: this aids digestion and helps the birds to warm up on cool mornings . Speckled Mousebirds breed co-operatively, with youngsters from the previous year helping their parents raise a new brood, and will huddle together in small groups to stay warm when roosting . BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS 93 ...