MOUSE-BIRD (Du. Muisvogel), the name by which in Cape Colony and Natal the members of the genus Colius of M. J. Brisson are known—probably from their singular habit of creeping along the boughs of trees with the whole tarsus applied to the branch. By the earlier systematists, Colius was placed among the Fringillidae; but the investigations of J. Murie and A. H. Garrod on its internal structure showed that it was not a true Passerine, and it is now placed in a separate family, Coliidae, amongst Coraciiform birds, near the trogons and swifts (q.v.). The Coliidae are small birds, with a rather finch-like bill, a more or less crested head, a very long tail, and generally of a dun or slate-coloured plumage that sometimes brightens into blue or is pleasingly diversified with white or chestnut. They feed almost wholly on fruits, but occasionally take insects, in quest of which they pass in bands of fifteen or twenty from tree to tree. Seven species are believed to exist, all belonging to the Ethiopian region (of which the Family is one of the most characteristic), and ranging from Abyssinia southwards. Three species inhabit Cape Colony.  (A. N.)