mousebird, noun

Origin:
South African DutchShow more Translation of South African Dutch muisvoël, see muisvoël.
A long-tailed fruit-eating bird of the Coliidae, predominantly dull brown or grey in colour, of the species Colius colius, C. striatus, or Urocolius indicus; coly; muisvoël. Occasionally also with defining words, see quotation 1984.
c1808 C. von Linné System of Nat. Hist. VIII. 383The colies live upon fruits only...At the Cape they are called muys-voogel, mouse-bird, their plumage being soft and silky. These birds are extremely injurious to the gardens.
1822 J. Latham Gen. Hist. of Birds V. 196These birds (sc. colies) are called at the Cape Mouse Birds.
1827 T. Philipps Scenes & Occurrences 70Two very singular birds, the Caffer finch and mousebird (the latter so called from being the colour of a mouse)...At the commencement of spring their tails begin to grow, and get to such a length as to appear to be an absolute incumbrance.
1856 R.E.E. Wilmot Diary (1984) 131Also may be noticed..the sombre crests and long tails of the small mousebirds which throng the protea and mimosa bushes.
1896 E. Clairmonte Africander 2A flock of long-tailed mousebirds, called finks.
1905 W.L. Sclater in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 140A small though interesting family is the Coliidae or Mousebirds,..remarkable for their pamprodactylous toes — that is, all four toes are normally turned forwards, although both hallux and fourth toe can be turned backwards at will. All three species of Mousebird (Colius striatus, C. capensis and C. erythromelon) are found about Cape Town.
1936 E.L. Gill First Guide to S. Afr. Birds 95The Colies or Mousebirds are smallish and very curious birds found only in Africa. The name Mousebird refers to their soft, rather hairy plumage..as well as to the way in which they creep about among twigs.
1963 M. Kavanagh We Merry Peasants 135Mouse birds are finishing off the last of the berries on the syringa tree branches.
1979 M. Parkes Wheatlands 39The unwelcome mouse birds, who do real damage to the fruit and vegetables, are the only birds which may be shot around the house.
1980 J.O. Oliver Beginner’s Guide to our Birds 81Speckled mousebird...Very common where there are fruit trees.
1984 G.L. Maclean Roberts’ Birds of Sn Afr. 369Speckled Mousebird,..Colius striatus...Bill dark above, pale below (all dark in Redfaced Mousebird, pale with black tip in Whitebacked Mousebird).
1984 G.L. Maclean Roberts’ Birds of Sn Afr. 370Whitebacked Mousebird,..Colius colius...Lower back white, bordered black (diagnostic in flight).
1984 G.L. Maclean Roberts’ Birds of Sn Afr. 371Redfaced Mousebird,..Colius indicus...Bare face red (other mousebirds have dark feathered faces)...More wary than other mousebirds.
1990 Weekend Post 21 July (Leisure) 3Several spectacled [sic] mousebirds..and a dusky flycatcher.
A long-tailed fruit-eating bird of the Coliidae, predominantly dull brown or grey in colour, of the species Colius colius, C. striatus, or Urocolius indicus; coly; muisvoël. Occasionally also with defining words, see quotation 1984.
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