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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

African Hoopoe

Afrikaans name: Hoephoep

African Hoopoe

An African Hoopoe with its crest down

Photo © Steven Herbert

Upapa africana

The African Hoopoe is a common and distinctive bird that is found over large portions of Africa, Asia and Europe.

Male and female are similar.

The call of the bird was responsible for its name.

African Hoopoes are found in open areas in woodland, savanna, gardens and other suitable habitats. My personal feeling is that it used to be far more common in gardens that it is currently and I wonder if the use of insecticides in the garden hasn't contributed to its modern-day scarcity in gardens.

Hoopoes mainly eat insects and small reptiles. Its long curved bill is ideal for digging around in the soil. They may beat their prey on the ground to kill it or break it up into smaller pieces.

Pairs of African Hoopoes establish a territory in which to breed. They make a nest in a hole in a tree. In some parts of the world they lay up to 12 eggs, but the normal clutch size is around 4 to 7. These are tended to by the female.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 102

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 96

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 57

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 139

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 38

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 120

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 183

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 57

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 391

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 388

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 270

Wild Issue 40 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 76

List of South African Birds

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