These birds are way too pretty to be named after rodents!   Although they are a plain, soft grey color, they have elegant crests and long, graceful tails.  The Mousebirds are a small group of (possibly near passerine) birds, which have no known close affinities to other groups, though might be close to trogons and owls.The Mousebirds are therefore given order status as Coliiformes. This group is confined to sub-Saharan Africa, and is the only bird order confined entirely to that continent. They had a wider range in prehistoric times and apparently evolved in Europe.  You can see the differences between varies species of Mousebird on this website.


They are widely spread in Africa so you are very likely to see them no matter where you are going on safari. Kruger Park, easily accessed from Johannesburg is a great place to start.


Mousebird Range

We saw them easily in northern Kruger Park in April 2009.   We saw them in other areas of Kruger too.  I’ve seen a few good videos of them at Pete’s Pond in Botswana too.

Video of Mousebirds at Pete’s Pond, Botswana.