The Speckled mousebird is approximately 35 cm (14 inches) long, with the tail comprising approximately half the length, and weighs about 57 grams (2 oz). It is well-named, because it is dull-mousy brown in overall color on the back and on the head (including a prominent crest). The bill is black on the upper part and is a pinkish color on the lower part.
It is distributed from Cameroon east to Eritrea and Ethiopia, south through eastern Africa to southern South Africa. Most habitats are suitable for this species, except the rainforests and more arid areas. This mousebird prefers open bushveld habitats. It is widespread in savanna and open woodlands, as well as areas with tangled thickets. It is a common "backyard bird," often seen in urban areas that contain gardens and orchards.
The speckled mousebird is a frugivore which subsists on fruits, berries, seeds, leaves and nectar, and is fairly strict in its choice of food from area to area.
These are conspicuously social birds, feeding together and engaging in mutual preening. They also accompany each other when they go to ground to dust bathe (also to occasionally to swallow pebbles to assist in grinding up vegetation as they digest it). Upon nightfall, they roost in very tight groups of 20 or so birds and on cold nights they can become torpid. Being in a torpid state could make them easy prey, but the large groups are apparently effective enough to deter most nocturnal predators
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