Speckled Mousebird

Maree  Clarkson

Tarlton, South Africa

Artist's Description

Still in my mode of sketching more…. Derwent Graphite Pencil sketch with watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
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  1. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
    Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

    - Langston Huges

The Mouse birds are regular visitors to my garden her in Tarlton (South Africa) and my affinity to them stems from “Mousey”, whom I picked up on my lawn as a tiny, featherless little bird and who then stayed with me for several months, the most gorgeous, loving little bird you can ever imagine. She was highly intelligent, coming from wherever she was in the garden when I called with a treat of banana. An interesting fact about these little birds is that they have sand baths, like chickens, and never go in the water.

They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents, in search of berries, fruit and buds. This habit, and their legs, gives rise to the group’s English name, Mouse Bird. They are acrobatic, and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes. They also have crests and stubby bills.

The mousebirds are a small group of (possibly near passerine) birds which have no real close affinities to other groups, though they and the parrots and cockatoos (Psittaciformes) may be closer to each other than to other birds. The mousebirds are therefore given order status as Coliiformes. This group is confined to sub-Saharan Africa, and is the only bird order confined entirely to the continent of Africa. They had a wider range in prehistoric times and apparently evolved in Europe.

  1. 27th May 2011 – FEATURED in Painters Universe
  2. 30th May 2011 – FEATURED in Sketching & Drawings
  3. 2nd July 2011 – FEATURED in Wildlife of Southern Africa
  4. 8th March 2012 – FEATURED in Inspired Art

Artwork Comments

  • Janice Dunbar
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  • Sue Nichol
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  • almaalice
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  • marella
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  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Maree  Clarkson
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