The hoopoe is a bird in the Upupidae family. This brightly colored bird can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Madagascar. Hoopoes live in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, forests, and wooded steppes. The hoopoe is Israel’s national bird and one of the birds revered in Ancient Egypt. The main threats to the hoopoe’s survival are habitat loss and climate change. The number of hoopoes in the wild is currently stable. The hoopoe is not listed as an endangered species.
The hoopoe is a medium-sized bird with a wingspan of 9.8 to 12.6 inches and a weight of 1.6 to 3.1 ounces. It has a wingspan ranging from 17.3 to 19 inches.
Hoopoe is named after the bird’s onomatopoeic sound, oop-oop-oop.
The colorful feathers of the hoopoe make it easy to identify. The bird’s color ranges from cinnamon to chestnut, with white and black stripes on the wings and tail. It has a prominent, upright crest on the top of its head.
Hoopoes have a long and powerful black beak. It is curved and designed for ground feeding.
Hoopoe consumes a variety of insects, small reptiles, snails, frogs, seeds, berries, and other plant materials.
When looking for food, the Hoopoe has a very muscular bill that can be opened while stuck in the ground.
Hoopoe enjoys sunbathing and dust bathing. Hoopoes sunbathe by tilting their heads back and spreading their wings and tail above the ground.
Hoopoe subspecies that live in temperate climates are migratory species. They have large, muscular wings that allow them to fly for long periods of time.
The flight of the hoopoe is undulating. The movement of its wings is similar to that of a butterfly.
The hoopoe is a territorial bird. Typically, a territory is populated by a single mating couple. To defend its territory, the male will readily engage in combat with intruders. Fights can be extremely violent, resulting in serious eye injuries that can lead to blindness.
For breeding, hoopoes require a cooler climate. Nests are constructed in the cavities of trees and rocks. They have a narrow entrance that keeps predators out.
The female is in charge of the nest and the eggs until they hatch. During this time, the male feeds the female.
The female uropygial gland secretes a foul-smelling substance. This liquid has a strong odor of rotten meat. Most predators will avoid the nest due to the unpleasant odor. Insects (hoopoe food) will, on the other hand, be attracted.
The number of eggs produced is determined by the climate. It can range between 7 and 12 eggs per season. The color of eggs is milky white. They will hatch after a 15 to 18-day incubation period.
In the wild, the average lifespan of a hoopoe is ten years.