Coliiformes


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Coliiformes

[kə‚lī·ə′fȯr‚mēz]
(vertebrate zoology)
A monofamilial order of birds distinguished by long tails, short legs, and long toes, all four of which are directed forward.

Coliiformes

 

(colies or mousebirds), an order of birds. The body, including the very long tail, is 30 to 38 cm in length and weighs 42 to 56 g. There is a short crest on the head. The plumage is downy, and the feathers have a long accessory shaft. Colies are gray and straw-colored, with small speckles. There is a greenish sheen on the back and a blue spot on the occiput. All four toes are turned forward, but the first and fourth can also turn backward.

The Coliiformes are distributed in Africa, from Senegal and Somali to Cape Province. There is one family, embracing six species. The birds, which inhabit savannas, thinned forests, and orchards, live in flocks of three to 30 individuals. They sleep during the night in close groups of 12 to 14 individuals. They climb branches with ease and are very mobile on the ground. Flight usually consists of moving from tree to tree; however, the birds are able to reach a velocity of 60 km/hr. The Coliiformes nest in trees and shrubs. There are two or three eggs per clutch, which are incubated by both parents for 12 to 15 days. The hatchlings are born naked or covered with a sparse down; they leave the nest 15 to 20 days after hatching. Colies feed on juicy fruits, berries, buds, and nectar. Some are destructive to orchards.

A. I. IVANOV