Family Mousebirds (Coliidae)

Least Concern

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)


French: Coliou huppé German: Blaunacken-Mausvogel Spanish: Pájaro ratón nuquiazul

Lanius macrourus


, 1766,



Closely related to U. indicus. Race syntactus often merged with nominate, as sometimes is laeneni. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. m. macrourus (Linnaeus, 1766) – coastal SW Mauritania and Senegal; recorded also in Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.
  • U. m. syntactus (Oberholser, 1905) – Sahelian and Sudanese zones from Mali, S Niger and N Nigeria E to Sudan, Eritrea and N Ethiopia.
  • U. m. laeneni (Niethammer, 1955) – Aïr Massif, in NC Niger.
  • U. m. abyssinicus Schifter, 1975 – C & S Ethiopia, and N Somalia (S to about Beledweyne).
  • U. m. griseogularis van Someren, 1919 – South Sudan, E DRCongo, W Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and NW & (probably this race) SW Tanzania; this race sometimes said to occur in SW Ethiopia.
  • U. m. pulcher (Neumann, 1900) – extreme SE South Sudan, E Uganda, Kenya, extreme S Ethiopia#R, S Somalia and N Tanzania.
  • U. m. massaicus Schifter, 1975 – C & E Tanzania (E to near Dar-es-Salaam).
  • Descriptive notes

    33–36 cm, including elongated tail of 20–28 cm; 34–65 g. Ash-grey plumage, darker above than below, bright turquoise-blue patch on nape and hindneck, long... read more


    Loud, clear, whistled "tieee", repeated every 3–5 seconds, by lone bird atop tree,... read more


    Open woodland and bush in semi-arid country, including thornbush, savanna, open Acacia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fruits, supplemented with leaves, flowers and buds. Berries of Salvadora persica of supreme importance in some areas (Niger... read more


    Throughout year, with peaks varying regionally, typically in or just after rainy seasons: in May–Jun in Nigeria, May–Jun and... read more


    Sedentary or locally nomadic. At least in Senegal, Mali, Kenya and Tanzania, regular dry-season... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and fairly common to common, or locally abundant, throughout most of range from Senegal to Ethiopia and Kenya; very common... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 January 2019).