Urocolius is a small genus of mousebirds.

Urocolius macrourus-20090110B.jpg
Blue-naped mousebird
Urocolius macrourus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coliiformes
Family: Coliidae
Genus: Urocolius
Bonaparte, 1854

Urocolius indicus
Urocolius macrourus

Red-faced mousebird Urocolius indicus in flight


It consists of two species which inhabit Eastern and Southern Africa:

Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
  Blue-naped mousebird Urocolius macrourus East Africa
  Red-faced mousebird Urocolius indicus southern Africa from Zaire, Zambia and Tanzania south to the Cape.


They are typically about 32 cm (13 in) long omnivorous birds, eating insects, small millipedes and plant material. Urocolius indicus in particular eats a great deal of fruit, leaves, buds, flowers, nectar and similar material.[1]

"Urocolius" archiaci, "U." consobrinus and "U." paludicola are 3 taxa described from fragmentary Early Miocene remains found at Saint-Gérand-le-Puy in France. Their taxonomic history is convoluted, being initially described as woodpeckers and variously merged and split. Today it is believed that at least 2 belong to the prehistoric genus Limnatornis. They sometimes are all united under the first of the 3 names although it is not clear with what justification. The same rationales presumably apply for undescribed but similar remains found in Late Miocene strata at Kohfidisch (Austria).[2]


  1. ^ Maclean, Gordon Lindsay. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa Publisher: New Holland 1993. ISBN 978-0620175838
  2. ^ Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002): Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press, Prague. ISBN 80-901105-3-8 PDF fulltext

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