Saturday, 17 March 2012


Upupa epops

Photo by Ahmet Karatash (Trek Nature)

Common name:
hoopoe (en); poupa (pt); huppe fasciée (fr); abubilla (es); wiedehopf (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Upupidae

This species is widely distributed across most of Europe, Asia and Africa. They are found in southern and eastern Europe and across the middle latitudes of Asia all the way to eastern Russia, eastern China and Korea. They are also found across southern Asia. In Africa they are found in north-eastern Africa and throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar. The more northern populations are migratory while the population in Iberia, southern Asia and Africa are resident.

These birds are 26-32 cm long and have a wingspan of 44-48 cm. They weigh 60-80 g.

This species is found in a wide range of habitats, including dry savannas and woodlands, dry and temperate grasslands, pastures, plantations, rural gardens and urban areas. They tend to avoid dense forests and deserts. The hoopoe is found from sea level up to an altitude of 3.650 m.

Hoopoes are mostly insectivorous. They eat crickets, mole crickets, beetles, grubs, locust, earwigs, cicadas, ants and various larval insects. They also eat other invertebrates, including spiders, woodlice, millipedes and earthworms, and sometimes take larger prey like frogs and small lizards. Occasionally, they also eat seeds and berries.

The hoopoe is monagamous, although the pair bond only lasts for a single season. They nest in a narrow hole in a tree or wall, where the female lays 5-12 milky blue eggs. The female incubates the eggs for 15-19 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 26-29 days after hatching, but remain with the parents for another week. 

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and has a global population estimated at 5 million individuals. The hoopoe seems to be is declining throughout its range as a result of habitat destruction and over-hunting, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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