Birds – The Hoopoe

Birds – The Hoopoe

The Hoopoe

The Hoopoe

In this article we will see: “The Hoopoe”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Hoopoe

Brief Background

The Hoopoe is known in ornithology as Upupa epops and belongs to the Coraciiformes order. This study covers all the necessary aspects of ornithology to learn all the details about the bird.

Length: 25 cm; folded wing: 137-153 mm; wingspan: 45 cm; tail: 105 mm; beak: 58 mm. Weight: 65 g. Adults: Head, neck, and underparts rusty, except for the lower belly; darker huppe with feathers tipped in white and then black; black upperparts widely striped with white and yellow; black-and-white barred tail; brown beak; black eyes; brownish legs.

Appearance and Behaviour of: The Hoopoe

Breaking away from typical silhouettes, the Hoopoe wanted to be original both in appearance and in the brilliance of its plumage. Larger than a blackbird, with relatively short legs, it has a disproportionately long and forward-curving beak at the end of a long neck. Topping it all, the head is adorned with a huppe that the bird can erect or retract at will.

Furthermore, to avoid any confusion, the Hoopoe displays an extremely colorful plumage, especially when its wings spread to reveal the beautiful black and white checkerboard pattern. In addition, the behavior of this species, which is relatively unafraid, makes it unhesitant to cross open meadows and fields with its undulating flight.

While not exactly tame, the Hoopoe is not afraid to approach villages and hamlets, especially when the surrounding countryside offers orchards, old trees, and hedges, which it favors. It prefers open or semi-wooded and generally warm regions.

Food of: The Hoopoe

Although the Hoopoe enjoys resting in the shade of foliage, it forages for food on the ground. In meadows, fallow land, or at the edge of forests, it captures a variety of insects such as beetles, caterpillars, mollusks, and worms.

The Hoopoe 's voice sample

From April to May, the sound of “houhouhoup… houhouhoup…” can be heard here and there. The calls are low, almost muffled, but carry far.

Reproduction

After courtship displays marked by singing and chasing, the couple seeks a nesting site. Using natural or artificial cavities, the Hoopoe chooses an old woodpecker hole or other tree holes as its dwelling. It also utilizes specially provided nest boxes and old stone walls, and sometimes settles in buildings. The female lays a clutch of 5 to 7 eggs in May. The eggs have a gray to greenish-gray background color, with varying shades of brown and russet. Average size: 18 x 26 mm; weight: 4 g. The 16-day incubation period is carried out by the female, who is diligently supplied with food by her mate and rarely leaves the nest except for a few moments each day.

The Hoopoe

The Hoopoe’s eggs

The female remains with the young during the first days after hatching, while both adults participate in the rearing of the chicks. At around 3 to 4 weeks old (average of 26 days), the young Hoopoes leave the nest and quickly become independent, while the nest retains the foul odor emitted by a gland on their rump, intended to deter predators. Some pairs may undertake a second brood.

Migration

In August, the Hoopoes quietly depart. They only stop after crossing the Sahara and continue their journey as far as the equator.

Distribution

The Hoopoe has a cosmopolitan distribution. It is rarer in the north than in the south and may be absent from the British Isles. The species breeds from the Iberian Peninsula to southern Sweden and is also found in northern Africa and Asia Minor, extending to northern India and the foothills of Mongolia. Other subspecies occupy Egypt, Africa, the rest of India, Madagascar, and China.

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A final word

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