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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Hoopoe

Upupa epops

  • Name also: Common Hoopoe
  • Family: Hoopoes – Upupidae
  • Appearance: Unique appearance. About the size of a large thrush. Broad wings and tail have black and white markings, head and breast pinkish. Has a long beak and a distinctive crest.
  • Size: Length 25–29 cm, wingspan 44–48 cm, weight 70–85 g.
  • Nest: In a hollow tree, nest-box, or hole in a building. Made of grass, leaves, feathers and dried cattle dung.
  • Breeding: Lays 5–7 eggs May–June. Only females incubate, for 16–18 days. Young able to fly within 26–32 days.
  • Distribution: Found in farmland and parkland. Visits Finland regularly but is only known to have bred in the country once, near Pori in 1940.
  • Migration: Diurnal. May be seen any time from April to early December. Winters in Northern and Central Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates, especially flies and grubs found in cattle dung.
  • Calls: Territorial call a repetitive three-syllable “pu-pu-pu”, which carries a long way. Similar to call of Tengmalm’s owl.

Hoopoes are distinctive thrush-sized birds with striking black, white and pinkish plumage. Their round-ended wings and tail are black and white. Head, neck, upper back, and underparts pinkisht. They have large fan-like pinkish crests with black spots, which they can open out and close at will. Hoopoes have grey legs, blackish beaks and brown irises.

In spite of their striking appearance, they are able to conceal themselves readily if they feel threatened, and may be hard to observe. The Hoopoe is the only member of its family found in Europe.

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