African Hoopoe…

Upupa africana… the African Hoopoe.

The Hoopoe a colourful bird..notable for its distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers.


The African Hoopoe has a rich chestnut colouration, contrasted with black and white stripes on the wings and tail.
The under parts are reddish-brown. The head and back show the same colour. Broad rounded wings are heavily marked black and white. With a square tail, black, and shows a white wide band.

The head has a conspicuous crest, made with long chestnut feathers, with a bold black tip. The crest may be displayed in two forms. It may be held straight, or erected in a rounded crown.
The dark bill is long, slender and down-curved. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are brownish.
As usual the female is duller than male.

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The African Hoopoe’s call is a distinctive “hoo-poo” repeated 3 to 5 times or more… so don’t pass wind when in their company… the hoo-poo could change to “Who-pooed??”

The African Hoopoe forages on the ground, probing with its slender bill. It walks easily and fast, with some movement of the head, it stops frequently to probe, dig and pick food off the ground. It snatches up insects in its long bill, and before eating, it beats the insects on the ground to remove the legs and wings. Then, it tosses up the prey and catches it in its open bill.

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They blend in well with their surrounds when foraging between the rocks and in bare soil….

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46 thoughts on “African Hoopoe…

    • Shortish lens… the trick to stand still and let them approach you.. not always successful, but that’s what I do…

  1. hmmm – now is my 3rd try to comment here… wonder if you are getting all of them, but don’t see them on the blog -sooo
    was saying what exotic looking birds!! Can’t get over what they do with their insect prey! Sounds like ancient cultural ritual or something…
    Great images dearest bulldog -and thank you for always educating us a bit too! Much Love ~R

  2. oh wow -just wrote a whole comment and it vanished… Was saying what an exotic looking bird this African Hoopoe is. Also can’t believe what they do with the insects – it almost sounds like a cultural ritual of some kind!!! Great photos bd – and thank you for always educating us too!! xo

  3. Such an exotic looking bird! I can’t believe they do that with the insects… it sounds almost like a cultural ritual or something… so interesting ~ thank you for always sharing not only your amazing photos – but educating us as well!! Much Love ~R

    • Thanks Debra… he is a lovely capture… if only he had sat in front of me in the garden to begin with rather than have me charge all over the place following him…

    • I often wonder how they come up with these unpronounceable names… a group of old men must have sat around a table with a couple of bottles of wine and then started the naming process…

  4. He looks like tons of fun at bird parties! Great photos from your neighboring planet bulldog, honestly, you live in National Geographic’s incredible critters world.

    • I chased them around for days to try and get a shot with one with it’s crest up… then it came and sat in the front garden and displayed the crest for me… all that energy expended for nothing…

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