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African Hoopoe (Afr: Hoephoep)
The African Hoepoe is a striking reddish brown bird. Size 25-27 cm - About the size of a Laughing Dove.

Species Picture

The bill is long, slender and down curved. It is dark-brown colour. The legs and feet are yellowish-pink, and the eyes are dark brown.

This is a bird with beautiful and unusual colours. The head, back and underparts are bright brownish-red. The wings are boldly marked black and white. The males are a richer deeper colour than the female. The African Hoopoe has a conspicuous crest of longish feathers on the top of the head, with a bold black tip. This crest can either be held straight, which gives the head a hammer like shape, or erected into a roughly circular crown.

A common species of gardens, parks, open woodland, Kalahari thornveld and riverine woodland in dry areas.

It is usually seen singly or in pairs. It feeds on the ground, and walks with short quick steps, stopping frequently to probe into the ground with it's bill.

The Hoopoe feeds on insects, earthworms, small snakes and frogs.

The call is a mellow hoop-hoop or hoop-hoop-hoop, which is repeated again and again - often for some period of time.

The African Hoepoe breeds in the spring and early summer - mainly August - October. It nests in a hole in a bank, wall or tree. There is no lining to the nest, and the female stays in the nest most of the time during incubation, and is fed by the male. The nest becomes very smelly, and the young also discharge a foul-smelling secretion if handled.

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