What might that mean? HoooooPooooeee!?!? Just my exaggerated version of this darling bird that keeps showing up in my backyard. I thought it was a woodpecker (chalk it up to my lack of bird knowledge). And every time the bird showed up I yelled to my boyfriend, “Woody the woodpecker is back!” And we would watch it hop around with its colorful peak of hair on it’s head and its lovely black and white feathers. Finally, I decided I should educate myself to actually find out what kind of woodpecker this is that loves my backyard …. and is not afraid of my cats.
Low and behold, this is not a woodpecker but a hoopoe! Hoopoe = Wiedehopf in German. Good to know, right? You pronounce it as hu:pu. The name imitates the cry of the bird, listen – huuupuuuu. Awwwwww. So sweet. It is a fun bird notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers and it is the national bird of Israel. I know you have been dying for a pic. Thanks to Wikipedia here is a good one:
Isn’t it ADORABLE!?!? The hoopoe is a medium sized bird, 25–32 cm (9.8–12.6 in) long, with a 44–48 cm (17–19 in) wingspan. The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which gives rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common. Other calls include rasping croaks, when alarmed, and hisses. Females produce a wheezy note during courtship feeding by the male. Both genders, when disturbed, call a rough charrrrrr. The food begging call of the nestlings is similar to that of a tiiii. I love birds. Don’t you? And a picture of this darling in my backyard:
My own personal hoopoe! The hoopoe is widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. The diet of the hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. Awww, maybe it likes the little geckos that are around my house. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground. More rarely they will feed in the air, where their strong and rounded wings make them fast, in pursuit of numerous swarming insects.
Hoopoes are monogamous, although the pair bond apparently only lasts for a single season, and territorial. The male calls frequently to advertise his ownership of the territory. Chases and fights between rival males (and sometimes females) are common and can be brutal. Birds will try to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights. Sounds vicious! And not sure how only a season is monogamous … haha but to each their own.
So there you have it! A bit of a hoopoe lesson. Let me know if you see one! Huuupuuuu