Birds – Upupidae

Birds – Upupidae



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


Brief Background

The Hoopoes are known in ornithology by the same name: Upupidae. They belong to the Coraciiformes order, which is part of the Aves class or avian dinosaurs. This study covers all the necessary aspects of ornithology to understand all the details about this family.

Appearance and Behaviour

The Upupidae family, or hoopoes, belongs to the heterogeneous order of Coraciiformes. This group includes birds with generally colorful, shiny, or variegated plumage, but they differ greatly in size, appearance, and behavior. Some species within this order, it is true, have entirely black plumage. It is in this order that kingfishers and hunters, todies from the Antilles, motmots from Central America, bee-eaters, rollers, the hoopoe, mockingbirds, and hornbills known for their oversized beaks are brought together.

Unique in many ways, these species representing distinct families nonetheless share some common characteristics. These similarities include the structure of the palate, wings, and sternum, as well as the number of cervical vertebrae, ranging from 13 to 15. Furthermore, the two anterior toes are more or less fused depending on the species.


All these birds nest inside natural cavities or dig their own burrows in the ground, and some even seal themselves in their nest during the entire incubation period.

As its name suggests, the hoopoe, which is the only representative of the Upupidae family in Europe, has a head adorned with a series of tall, erect feathers that can fan out at will. When held flat, these feathers seem to extend backward, following the long and slightly curved beak. It is a bird of modest size but stands out in Europe, both for its highly colorful plumage and its undulating flight, which enhances the variegated effect of its already vibrant colors even when at rest.

It is in spring, when they return to us from the vast African continent where they have spent the winter, that the male hoopoes announce their presence with their song. Pointing their beaks towards the ground and then raising their heads to complete their monotonous refrain, the birds utter “houpoupoup… houpoupoup,” a soft and pleasing sound to the ear. Emitting these strophes in series of two to four, they are believed to be the origin of the genus name Upupa.

Despite its relatively short legs, the hoopoe moves easily on the ground, where it finds the majority of the insects it consumes in large quantities. Like its distant cousins, the hoopoe nests in cavities that are further secured by the foul-smelling secretion of its uropygial gland.


The distribution range of the hoopoe, which migrates in Europe and northern Asia, extends from France to Sumatra and Madagascar.

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A final word

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