Hoopoe called Hudhud in Pakistan is a bird of the family Upupidae. This colorful bird can be found across the Europe, Asia, Africa and Madagascar. Hoopoe inhabits wide variety of habitats: grasslands, savannas, forests and wooded steppes. In Holy book Qura’an there is a story of King Sulayman and Hudhud which was a courtier of his court, it is a national bird of Israel and one of the birds that were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt. Main threats to the survival of the hoopoe are habitat loss and climate changes. At the moment, number of hoopoes in the wild is stable. Hoopoe is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Hoopoe Facts:
Hoopoe is a medium-sized bird that can reach length between 9.8 to 12.6 inches and weight between 1.6 and 3.1 ounces. It has a wingspan of 17.3 to 19 inches.
Hoopoe is named after onomatopoeic sound produced by the bird: oop-oop-oop.
Hoopoe is easily recognized because of its colorful feathers. Bird is cinnamon to chestnut in color, with white and black stripes on the wings and tail. It has prominent, upright crest on its head.
Hoopoe has long and strong black beak. It is curved and adapted for the feeding on the ground.
Hoopoe eats different type of insects, small reptiles, snails, frogs, seeds, berries and other types of plant materials.
Hoopoe has very muscular bill which can be opened while stuck in the ground when the bird is looking for food.
Hoopoe enjoys bathing on the sun and in the dust. During sunbathing, hoopoe takes specific position: it tilts its head back and spread its wings and tail above the ground.
Subspecies of hoopoe that live in temperate climate belong to group of migratory species. They have large and muscular wings, which are required for the prolonged flights.
Hoopoe is characterized by undulating flight. Movement of its wings resembles the movement of the wings of a butterfly.
Hoopoe is a territorial animal. Territory is usually populated with a single mating couple. Male will readily fight with intruders to defend its territory. Fights can be very violent and may end with serious eye injuries that can lead to blindness.
Hoopoe requires cooler climate for breeding. Nests are built in the cavities of trees and stones. They have narrow entrance which prevents predators from entering.
Female is responsible for the nest and for the eggs until the hatching. Male feeds the female during this period.
Female secretes a substance of foul odor from the uropygial gland. This liquid smells like rotten meat. Due to unpleasant smell, most predators will stay away from the nest. On the other hand, insects (hoopoe’s food) will be attracted.
Number of eggs depends on the climate. It can range from 7 to 12 eggs per season. Eggs are milky white in color. They will hatch after incubation period of 15 to 18 days.
Average lifespan of hoopoe in the wild is 10 years.