Hoopoe foraging and in warning mode

on 13th January 2009

Allan Teo was in India recently and returned with images of Hoopoe (Upupa epops) behaviour.

Hoopoes are seen in open areas, including woodlands, cultivated areas and gardens. There is only a single species but nine subspecies, seen in Africa, Madagascar, Asia to parts of Southeast Asia. It has been recorded in Malaysia as a vagrant.

The bird feeds on large insects and their larvae and pupae found in the soft ground. Small vertebrates like lizards, snakes, frogs and geckos are also taken. The bird forages alone or in pairs, mostly on the ground, digging and probing with its prominently long bill (above). It also turns over the ground debris seeking prey.

The appearance of a starling triggered the Hoopoe to spread its wings, displaying its strongly patterned, black and white plumage to its full glory, appearing larger than it actually is (left). This was enough to warn the approaching starling off.

Images by Allan Teo.

Kristin, A., 2001. Family Upupidae (hoopoe). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 396-411..

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Nice images of the hoopoe. The hoopoe is also a vagrant to Singpore, with at least two records.

    The starling is a Brahminy Starling (Sturnus pagodarum).

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