Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Upupidae
Genus: Upupa
Species: U. epops

The Hoopoe is a colourful bird that is found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers. It is 25–29 cm long, with a 44–48 cm wingspan and a long, thin beak weighing 46-70 grams. This black, white and pink bird is quite unmistakable, especially in its erratic flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly. The song is a trisyllabic “oop-oop-oop”, which gives rise to its English and scientific names.

The Hoopoe is widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It migrates from all but the southernmost part of its range to the tropics in winter.

It prefers open cultivated ground with short grass or bare patches, and spends much time on the ground hunting insects and worms. The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall. Like those of its relatives, the kingfishers, the nest tends to contain copious amounts of faeces and smell very foul as a protection against predators.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park,
Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
December 2008

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