African Hoopoe

(Upupa epops) The African Hoopoe is widely distributed throughout South Africa. Not a particularly sociable bird, the Hoopoe is generally found either singly or in pairs.

There is some debate about whether the African Hoopoe and the Eurasian Hoopoe are 2 species or simply subspecies of Upupa epops. In the field they can be distinguished by their colouring (africana is a richer chestnut) and the lack of the white sub-terminal band on the primaries in the African Hoopoe.

The Hoopoe is instantly recognisable by its distinctive ‘crown’ or ‘crest’ of feathers, its rich chestnut colouring contrasted by the black and white stripes of its wings and tail.

The crest is briefly raised when the bird is unsettled or startled. The Hoopoe’s bill is long, dark and narrow and slightly down- or de-curved.

The lower abdomen, belly and under-tail coverts are white, the eyes are black and the legs and feet are dark brown.