Kenya Birds

White-headed Mousebird


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White-headed Mousebird

Photograph(s) Copyright P&H HARRIS

Colius leucocephalus

Other Names

  English White-headed Coly   French Coliou tte blanche   German Weikopf-Mausvogel   Spanish Pjaro-ratn Cabeciblanco       Italian Uccello topo testabianca

World: Only known from Ethiopia, southern Somalia, Kenya and north-eastern Tanzania.

Kenya: Fragmented distribution including, in the south, Tsavo West NP and the western boundary of Amboseli and along the Tiva and lower Tana rivers. In the north of the country their range is from the Horr Valley and Marsabit, south to Samburu, Shaba and the Isiolo District.

This is the least common of Kenya's Mousebirds. It inhabits dry scrubby country and can be found in a number of parks including Amboseli and Tsavo although in our experience the best place to see it is further north in the Isiolo region. You can usually count on seeing a few at least in the Samburu Reserve, which is where the group above were photographed. They may be confused with the much more common Speckled Mousebird, but their white crown and crest, and bare orbital skin (which gives the impression of a bandit mask) distinguish the 2 species.

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