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

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 58

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 128

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

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 47

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 52

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 170

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 173

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 148

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

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 260

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

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 298

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 283

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 222

Roberts Bird Guide - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Published: 2007 - Page: 46

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 2

Newmans Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1991 - Page: 58

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 256

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 256

Know your Garden Birds - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 25

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 69

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 186

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 57

Gardening with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1988 - Page: 57

Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: P. Ginn & G. McIlleron - Published: 1981 - Page: 49

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 72

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

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

Field Guide to Fynbos Fauna - Author: Cliff & Suretha Dorse - Published: 2023 - Page: 158

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 18

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 49

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

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 151

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 77

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 139

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

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 136

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 167

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

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

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 102

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 181

BirdLife South Africa


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