Hoopoe

Scientific name: Upupa epops

Did you know: The hoopoe, a bird renowned for its unique crown of feathers, is the national bird of Israel, chosen by popular vote in 2008.

What Do Hoopoes Look Like? (how to identify them)

Hoopoes are a visual treat with their striking appearance. Adult males showcase sandy hues on their heads, mantles, necks, and underparts, contrasted by their white bellies. 

Their most notable feature is the conspicuous crest on their heads, comprising 28 feathers, which they fan out during displays. These crests are primarily sandy with black and white tips. 

Additionally, hoopoes possess long, black, downward-curving bills that lighten near the base, dark brown eyes, and grey legs and feet.

Differences Between Male And Female Hoopoes

While females bear a resemblance to males, they are slightly smaller and display more subdued plumage. The juveniles mimic females but with shorter crests and bills.

What Do Hoopoes Eat?

The hoopoe, primarily a ground forager, predominantly feeds on insects, spiders, grubs, and occasionally small frogs and seeds. In rare instances, they may also indulge in berries. 

They have a unique way of feeding, using their long bills to probe the ground and then skillfully discarding inedible parts by beating them against a surface.

Where Do Hoopoes Live? (inc. migration info)

Hoopoes are migratory birds, often seen along the southern coast of England during their migration from sub-Saharan Africa in April and May. With a presence also in southern Europe, they are known to breed in warmer climes. 

Their return journey to Africa occurs around September to October. While they are rare inland, sightings have been reported in northern areas such as Shetland.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Hoopoes)

The hoopoe’s call is an enchanting and distinct “hoop-hoop-hoop” sound, from which its name derives. This soft, low, resonant call is a signature sound of the species, often heard repeated in their natural habitats.

Fun Hoopoe Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Hoopoes can be seen sunbathing on the ground, which is a rare and fascinating sight.
  • The crest on a hoopoe’s head has 28 feathers and opens like a fan during displays.
  • Hoopoes lay 5-9 pale grey or white eggs, and the chicks emerge with downy feathers.
  • Their wingspan ranges from 42 to 46 cm, making them medium-sized birds.
  • Hoopoes have a unique way of eating, using their long bills to probe the ground for food.

Hoopoe Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Hoopoe

Diet: Insects and spiders.
Bird Family: Hoopoe
Length: 26-28cm
Wingspan: 42-46cm
Weight: 47-87g
Scientific Name: Upupa epops

The Hoopoe Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • August
  • September
  • October