African Hoopoe (Upupa africana)

African Hoopoe taking a dust bath

African Hoopoe taking a dust bath

The debate whether the African Hoopoe is a separate species (Upupa africana) or merely a subspecies of its European relative (Upupa epops) is still ongoing. Actually, this scientific discussion encompasses between five and ten described (sub-)species with more or less separated geographic occurrences. We don’t really want to go into detail here, but all of these birds can be differentiated by the colouring and pattern of their plumage. The African Hoopoe occurs in a vast area from Ethiopia and Kenya in the north up to South Africa in the south. Throughout its range, the birds favour open or bushy areas with limited rainfall. Their diet consists predominantly of insects, which are caught on or even in the ground with the help of their long bill. Hoopoes breed in monogamous pairs which, however, seem to last only for one season. I have seen this pretty bird only once, during a visit to the Etosha National Park in northern Namibia (February 2007).

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe


9 responses to “African Hoopoe (Upupa africana)

  1. Great shots! I was so thrilled when I saw my first Hoopoe last spring in the Ashkelon National Park in Israel. They are seen all around the Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv, too – the Hoope is actually the national bird of Israel. Such a unique-looking bird.

    • thank you for your comment! you are right, they are really extraordinary!! The hoopoe also occurs in Germany, but it became quite rare during the 20th century – I never saw one here, therefore, I can imagine how great it must have felt like for you!

  2. Nice photos. We’ve seen two hoopoes – one in the gardens near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, th other (just this past August) In Hustai National Park in Mongolia. Still don’t have a photo though…

    • thank you! I’ve never been to Japan or Mongolia – and even if you didn’t get a photo of the hoopoes, I guess, these journeys must have been very enjoyable! All the best!! 🙂

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