Ever seen a mouse scurry through leaves? Here's the winged version of the story

A group of slender, long-tailed birds endemic to the semi-tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Their classification has changed over the years; once grouped with woodpeckers, they have been recognized as a distinct lineage due to their unique morphological and behavioral characteristics.

These arboreal birds are named for their mouse-like appearance and behavior. The long, thin tails and soft plumage of Urocolius mousebirds give them a rodent-like look, and their skulking movement through the leaves and branches has a certain rodent quality. The analogy extends to their foraging behavior; much like rodents, they scurry through the foliage in search of food, using their nimble movements to navigate the complex arboreal landscape.

Urocolius mousebirds are primarily frugivorous but have a diet that includes a diverse array of plant materials. They feed on leaves, flowers, nectar, fruits, and berries, with some species also consuming insects, which adds a crucial source of protein to their diet. Their flexible diet allows them to exploit various food sources and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Their unique foot structure facilitates their feeding strategy. Mousebirds have evolved zygodactyl feet, with two toes facing forward and two backward, allowing them to grasp branches securely in a variety of positions. This adaptation is perfect for an animal that spends its life in the trees and needs to maneuver to reach food or escape predators.

The social behavior of Urocolius mousebirds is also noteworthy. They are gregarious and often found in flocks, which can be seen feeding, preening, and roosting together. This social structure may provide several advantages, including increased vigilance against predators and more efficient foraging.

Mousebirds are monogamous and exhibit a high degree of parental care. They construct their nests in trees, where both parents work together to raise their young, which are altricial and require an extended period of care before they can fend for themselves.