Birds of the World

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Coraciae: Upupiformes - Hoopoes, Wood Hoopoes, Scimitar-bills
 
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Coraciae
Bucerotiformes - Hornbills, Ground Hornbills
Upupiformes - Hoopoes, Wood Hoopoes, Scimitar-bills
Trogoniformes - Trogons
Coraciiformes -
   Rollers, Ground-Rollers, Cuckoo-Rollers
   Motmots, Todies, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters
Galbuliformes - Jacamars, Puffbirds
 
Images:   
Great Hornbill, Eurasian Hoopoe, Narina Trogon, Quetzal, Collared Trogon,
Violaceous Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Indian Roller, Tody, Laughing Kookaburra,
White-throated Kingfisher
, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, European Bee-eater,
Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Puffbird
 
  Order Upupiformes - Hoopoes, Woodhoopoes, Scimitar-bills
Wiki     EoL
 
  Family Upupidae - Hoopoes
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  2 (1) species, 1 genus - Eurasian and Madagascar Hoopoe (Upupa epops, U. marginata). Old World - Europe, Asia, Malaysia, Africa, and Madagascar. Hoopoes vary across their range in coloration and the width of bands on their back, wings, and tail. The Madagascar population also has a different song. 8 subspecies are recognized. Some authors recognize up to 4 species. Hoopoes are closely related to hornbills and woodhoopoes. They share a unique stapes with the woodhoopoes.
   Hoopoes are medium-sized birds with an undulating, bufferfly-like flight. Their feathers lack metallic gloss and there are no colored pigments in the plumage. They are black, white and pink. They have a long, conspicuous, erectile crest. Sexes are alike. Their bill is compressed and long, decurved and scimitar-like; the tongue is short without basal barbs. They are able to open their bill while inserted in the ground. Their nostrils are pseudo-holorhinal and impervious. They have a short, slender tarsus with scutes in front and behind. Their middle and outer toes are fused at the basal joint (weakly syndactyl?).  Their wings are long and rounded. They have 10 primaries and 10 rectrices.  An aftershaft is absent. The oil gland is bilobed and tufted. Flexor tendons are Type 7. They have 14 cervical vertebrae and a left carotid artery. They have no caeca.
   Hoopoes are usually solitary or in pairs. They walk on the ground like starlings and forage for insects and worms in lightly vegetated or bare ground. They use their bill to probe loose soil or litter and may use their feet to dig out subterranean prey. They feed on arthropods, mollusks and small vertebrates. Prey is swallowed whole (larger items may be beaten first to "tenderize" it and remove indigestible wings or legs). They also eat fruit, seeds, leaves or rhizomes at times. On occasion they will feed in the air, pursuing swarming insects.
   Their song is a trisyllabic (2-5 repetitions) "oop-oop-oop" - hence the name. The Madagascar subspecies has a purring song. They live in open country - savanna, cultivated land, woodland - from sea level to timberline. They sunbathe with their wings spread against the ground and their head tilted up. They also take dust and sand baths.
   The Madagascar form lives along forest edges. Northern populations are migratory; African populations are sedentary.
   Hoopoes are monogamous. They nest in a cavity with a narrow opening (in a tree or rock, a termite mound, an earthen bank, or a nest box). The nest is a platform of vegetation and feathers and they accumulate large amounts of fecal material in the nest (adults and young both foul the nest). Brooding females emit a foul-smelling oil used in defense. They lay 3-5 eggs (up to 12 in more northern areas) which the female incubates for 15-18 days. She is fed by the male during incubation. Eggs hatch asynchronously. Nestlings have dense down and, if disturbed, spray directed streams of fecal material in defense and also emit odiferous oil from the uropygial gland. Chicks hatch with a downy plumage, then briefly molt into a juvenile plumage followed by a post-juvenile molt into adult plumage. They fledge at 25-30 days and may be cared for by their parents for a week or more post-fledging.
 
Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe, Upupa epops.
Safa Park, Dubai UAE.
Photo by Ed Konrad

 

 

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Brehms Tierleben, 1892.

Wood Hoopoe
 
  Family Phoeniculidae - Woodhoopoes
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  5 species, 1 genus (Phoeniculus). Sibley and Monroe, 1990, or 8 species, 2 genera (Clements, 2007, Dickinson, 2003, and Harris, 2009) - including the scimitar-bills (Rhinopmastus) - below. Sub-Saharan Africa. Related to kingfishers, rollers, and the Hoopoe. The Woodhoopoes and scimitar-bills appear to have diverged about 10 MYBP and may form two subfamilies or families.
   Woodhoopoes are arboreal birds of the African woodland. They differ from the hoopoes in plumage and feeding behavior. They are slim, medium-sized birds with a long, graduated tail. The bill is long and slender - decurved in most species. Their nostrils are elongate and operculate. Their legs are thick but short. They are weakly syndactyl with a short tarsus. Their claws are long and sharp. When climbing, they resemble woodpeckers. On the ground they hop rather than walking like the Hoopoe.
   They lack the crest of Hoopoes. They may have metallic plumage colors - usually glossy black. Five species have white wing bands and white tips to the tail. In several species, the bill is red (it is black in the others). The oil gland is small, tufted, and single lobed. It produces a foul and noxious secretion as in hoopoes.
   They are more gregarious than hoopoes and are arboreal, moving from tree to tree. They probe under bark or strip it looking for food. They eat spiders, millipedes, caterpillars, and small lizards. Some eat eggs of small birds and several eat seeds or berries. They inhabit open Acacia woodlands, savanna, riverine edges, wooded gardens, or secondary growth. Two species are restricted to rain forest. They may be somewhat nomadic outside the breeding season, but most are sedentary.
   Woodhoopoes are monogamous, building nests in tree cavities. They lay 2-5 eggs which the female incubates for 17-18 days. She feeds the young, often with the help of young from a previous brood (helpers).
 
  Family Rhinopomastidae - Scimitar-bills
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  3 species, 1 genus (Rhinopmastus aterimus). Confined to Africa. Included in the Phoeniculidae by the Encyclopedia of Life and other sources except Sibley and Monroe (1990).
   Scimitar-bills are smaller than most woodhoopoes and their bill is strongly decurved ("scimitar"-shaped). They are mostly a glossy black and are usually found alone or in pairs. They feed on invertebrates and insects, by probing into cracks and crevices. They are arboreal and acrobatic. They nest in a tree cavity.
       
       
       
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
     
  Banner - Wood Hoopoe (woodcut). Brehms Tierleben. 1892.