Family Mousebirds (Coliidae)

Least Concern

Red-backed Mousebird (Colius castanotus)


French: Coliou à dos marron German: Rotrücken-Mausvogel Spanish: Pájaro ratón dorsirrojo

Colius castanotus

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1855,

probably Angola




W Angola: from Zaire (at Soyo)#R E to W Malanje (perhaps to Lunda Norte) and S to Namibe (formerly Moçâmedes).

Descriptive notes

30–38 cm, including elongated tail of 20–26 cm; 39–82 g. Both sexes have face and forehead black with whitish-grey feather tips; crest, rest of head, mantle... read more


Foraging flocks maintain a near-constant high-pitched twittering, while other calls include a harsh... read more


Wide range of habitats, from closed forest and secondary growth to more open wooded areas and... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly fruits, very often cultivated ones (pawpaw, banana, mango, figs); also flowers, blossoms and green leaves; also, at least... read more


Nests found in Dec and Jan, but birds in breeding condition collected throughout year. Nest bowl-shaped, relatively large, roughly built,... read more


Sedentary, but local movements to gardens and orchards reported.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common within its comparatively restricted area, but generally uncommon in S of range; flocks of up to 20 seen in thickets and... read more

Recommended citation

de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Red-backed Mousebird (Colius castanotus). 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 17 December 2018).