The Mousebirds are a small group of birds, which have no known close affinities to other groups, though might be close to trogons and owls. 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 that continent. They had a wider range in prehistoric times and apparently evolved in Europe.

They are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers. They are typically about 10 cm in body length, with a long, thin tail a further 20–24 cm in length. 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. They are acrobatic, and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes (pamprodactyl foot). They also have crests and stubby bills.

Mousebirds are gregarious, again reinforcing the analogy with mice, and are found in bands of about 20 in lightly wooded country.

The mousebirds could be considered "living fossils" as the 6 species extant today are merely the survivors of a lineage that was massively more diverse in the late Paleogene and Miocene.

Genus Colius
Speckled mousebird, Colius striatus
White-headed mousebird, Colius leucocephalus
Red-backed mousebird, Colius castanotus
White-backed mousebird, Colius colius
Genus Urocolius
Blue-naped mousebird, Urocolius macrourus
Red-faced mousebird, Urocolius indicus