Mousebirds join the butterflies in Stratford

PUBLISHED: 11:09 08 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:09 08 May 2014

A mousebird / Photo: Douglas Janson

A mousebird / Photo: Douglas Janson

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Ten new mousebirds with their characteristic spiky hair are the latest addition to the Stratford Butterfly Farm.

A mousebird using its strong claws to dangle upside down / Photo: Krzysztof WiktorA mousebird using its strong claws to dangle upside down / Photo: Krzysztof Wiktor

This is the first time the butterfly farm has kept mousebirds, which are settling in well and getting on with the other bird species that inhabit the farm. Being highly active breeders and rarely leaving each other’s sides, it won’t be long before the farm welcomes mousebird chicks for visitors to admire.

Officially known as Colius striatus, The Speckled Mousebird is the largest species of mousebird as well as one of the most common. They can grow up to 35cm with their tail comprising approximately half the length. Mousebirds are so called because of their habits of foraging the forest floor in search of fruit and berries fallen from the trees; with their mousey-brown colouring it is easy to confuse them with mice. They can hang upside down in precarious positions thanks to their dexterous feet, and are extremely social, living in small groups. They also alert eachother to danger when threatened by loudly squawking.

A mousebird purches on a branch / Photo: Colette3 [Shutterstock]A mousebird purches on a branch / Photo: Colette3 [Shutterstock]

The birds originate from the tropical regions of Africa as well as into savanna and open woodlands. Mousebirds are unusual in that they are a group of birds all by themselves and are therefore given order status as Coliiformes. It is likely that mousebirds are the sole survivors of a diverse and puzzling lineage most closely related to woodpeckers.

Richard Lamb, Manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our new mousebirds which make a great addition to the farm. I’m sure our visitors will enjoy watching them playing in the trees and hanging upside down which is a great spectacle to see!”

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The Stratford Butterfly Farm is open every day from 10:00am – 5:30pm. For more information please visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone 01789 299288.

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