HOOPOES: THE TARGET FOR THE WEEK (NOT ON ABACO!)


Hoopoe Upupa epops -

HOOPOES: THE TARGET FOR THE WEEK (NOT ON ABACO!)

From time to time, wildlife that is completely alien to Abaco, the Bahamas, or even the Americas will slip under the radar and find a place hereabouts. I’m hoping to find one such during the next few days. It is Upupa epops: the Eurasian hoopoe. This wonderful creature is a bird of the warmer areas of Europe and Asia (orange on the map below), and widespread (non-breeding) in areas further south including Africa.

Very occasionally they are found in the south of England, but we are travelling to the Balearics and the hoopoe is merely incidental to the expedition. I’ve seen them in France, Italy, and on Mallorca… and we are in with a good chance of finding one this coming week. So I’d better to remember to have more than iPhone with me…

Hoopoe Upupa epops -

The hoopoe’s most distinctive feature is its extraordinary erectile crest, which creates an impressive fan on top of its head. Then there’s attractive colour scheme. And that long, down-curved, insect-pecking beak. And that unmistakeable call, an onomatopoeic name that really fits the species (cf Whip Poor Will):

Xeno-Canto / Peter Boesman

There is a very real chance of finding and photographing this gorgeous bird, but I appreciate that it’s probably not of sufficient interest Abaco-wise to justify a second post so I’ll probably just put an image on Insta and FB. If any are good enough…

Credits: Artemy Voikhansky, Dûrzan cîrano, David Bottan for uploading the great hoopoe pics (CCL); Xeno-Canto / Peter Boesman; Wik for range map; open source stamp FDC

First day cover from Belarus (one of many countries to issue hoopoe stamps

9 thoughts on “HOOPOES: THE TARGET FOR THE WEEK (NOT ON ABACO!)

  1. I so love this bird. We’ve seen them in different parts of Africa on safari, and they are such a delight. I know they’re not within the theme of your Abaco blog, but I am so glad you included them. They are good hunters (always killing bees), so colorful and splashy, and their sound is wonderful. You were the person who shared xeno-canto with me, for which I am grateful; and your recording here was terrific.

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    • They are brilliant birds! I’ve just been watching them drilling the ground for food rather like woodpeckers. Of a great many photos, some are definitely usable… Oddly, none of the ones we saw made the characteristic whooping call – maybe it’s too late in the breeding season for that.

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