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