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Hoopoe, African

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Re: Hoopoe, African

Unread postby jacliz » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:10 am

We have a pair nesting in the roof above our bathroom. They are busy increasing their family for the second time this year. First time there were seven eggs, but we didn't see the youngsters as we were in Kruger when they were due to leave the nest. Don't know about this time as we don't want to look and disturb them. Only problem is, they seem to have a sleep disorder :evil: At 2 in the morning it sounds like we have the builders in doing a loft conversion!
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Re: Hoopoe, African

Unread postby Mant » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:46 pm


Spotted this one in Satara Restcamp on the 26th March on the lawn in front of the restaurant.



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Rusty Justy
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Re: Hoopoe, African

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:14 pm

Thanks for Sharing :thumbs_up:
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Re: Hoopoe, African

Unread postby Elsa » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:56 am

Seen at B & D in Feb this year.
(Jock's Pic)

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Hoopoe, African

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:22 am


This handsome bird was photographed at Satara camp (A-circle).

They are usually found in pairs or small groups, and the prominent head crest is most often closed except in alarm or when landing.

Hoopoes are said to be monogamous birds. Roberts 7 suggests that this monogamy will probably extend to a single season only. I have a pair in my garden that I ringed in 2010; they are still visiting our lawns together…

As cavity-nesters, they choose nesting sites low to the ground, often in a hole in a wall or stonework, pipes, tree forks, even termite mounds and occasionally in low nest boxes. The nest may be unlined or sparsely lined with bits of leaves, grass or feathers. A typical brood can have from 3 - 7 round, pale blue eggs and 1 - 3 broods may be laid per mated pair each season. The nest smells terrible: breeding females and growing young smell like rotting meat, and all birds excrete foul smelling liquid from the preen gland. Hoopoes also routinely excrete wastes into the nest. The foul smelling nest is said to deter predators; however, it probably also attracts insects, which are the birds’ main food source.

The female parent incubates the eggs for 15 - 16 days, and the male may feed her during the incubation period. After hatching, the chicks are covered with a fine down and are fed by both parents for 25 - 29 days until they leave the nest. After fledging, they stay near their parents for up to another week.

A Hoopoe defending itself will spray its foul smelling excretions at its opponent. I have caught and ringed a number of hoopoes and have never experienced this defense mechanism… maybe fortunately so? :lol:

The female starts to incubate as soon as the first egg is laid, which means that the chicks hatch in sequence, each egg taking up to 20 days for incubation.

In many bird species this would be a distinct disadvantage to the younger chicks, which would be smaller and thus likely to be pushed aside in the struggle to be fed. However, this is not so with the hoopoe, which has developed an unusual feeding system. During the 25 or so days of feeding at the nest by the parents, the nestlings wait in turn to be fed. Once they have been given their food, each chick will “be moved to the back of the queue”, leaving the way clear for the next in line. In this way, it is not just the biggest chick that gets all the food.

This bird is so outstandingly unique that it was revered in ancient Egypt, is a symbol of virtue in Persia and is the national bird of Israel.

Hoopoes are ground-foraging birds. They will probe the ground looking for insects, and their heads have extra musculature to allow their bills to open underground.


I photographed this one unearthing a grub of sorts,


Incapacitating it by flinging it onto the ground


and promptly swallowing it.

675 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture

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