mousebird

mousebird

[mous-burd]
noun

Origin:
1815–25; mouse + bird

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World English Dictionary
mousebird (ˈmaʊsˌbɜːd)
 
n
another name for coly

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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mousebird

any member of the genus Colius, a group of African birds that, because of their long, drooping tails, look much like mice when seen running along branches. The single genus (Colius) and six species constitute the family Coliidae, order Coliiformes. The body is sparrow sized, but the tail makes the total length 30-35 centimetres (roughly 12 to 14 inches). Colies sometimes climb like parrots, using the curved finchlike bill for grasping twigs. They also can hang by the feet, swinging beneath a branch using their rear toe, which can be rotated outward and fully forward, to obtain a strong clinging grip. The grayish or brownish body plumage is soft, loose, and hairlike. There is a short erectile crest on the head, and most species have a touch of blue at the nape and some red or blue skin around the eyes. The sexes look alike.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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