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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2014-10-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/4.2, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-11-06 8:46
Viewed: 2017
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This time a bird which I’ve seen several times in different countries. But I could never made a decent photo of this bird. The bird park gave me the opportunity in nice natural conditions.

The Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a colourful bird found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive "crown" of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae.

Like the Latin name upupa, the English name is an onomatopoeic form which imitates the cry of the bird. The Hoopoe is the national bird of Israel.

Taxonomy and systematics
The Hoopoe is classified in the clade Coraciiformes, which also includes Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Rollers, and Woodhoopoes. A close relationship between the Hoopoe and the Woodhoopoes is also supported by the shared and unique nature of their stapes.
It is the only extant member of its family, although some treatments consider some of the subspecies as separate species. Several authors have separated the Madagascan subspecies (U. e. marginata) as a separate species, and also the resident African form U. e. africana. The morphological differences between the most commonly split subspecies, U. e. marginata, and the other subspecies are minor, and only U. e. marginata has distinctly different vocalisations. One accepted separate species, the Saint Helena Hoopoe, U. antaios, lived on the island of St Helena but became extinct in the 16th century, presumably due to introduced species.

The Hoopoe is a medium sized bird, 25–32 cm long, with a 44–48 cm wingspan. It weighs 46–89 g. The species is highly distinctive, with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base. The strengthened musculature of the head allows the bill to be opened when probing inside the soil. The Hoopoe has broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight; these are larger in the northern migratory subspecies. The Hoopoe has a characteristic undulating flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.
The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which gives rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common.

Distribution and habitat
The Hoopoe is widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Most European and north Asian birds migrate to the tropics in winter. In contrast, the African populations are sedentary all year.

The Hoopoe has two basic requirements of its habitat: bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities (such as trees, cliffs or even walls, nestboxes, haystacks, and abandoned burrows) in which to nest. These requirements can be provided in a wide range of ecosystems, and as a consequence the Hoopoe inhabits a wide range of habitats such as heathland, wooded steppes, savannas and grasslands, as well as forest glades. The Madagascar subspecies also makes use of more dense primary forest. The modification of natural habitats by humans for various agricultural purposes has led to Hoopoes becoming common in olive groves, orchards, vineyards, parkland and farmland, although they are less common and are declining in intensively farmed areas. Hunting is of concern in southern Europe and Asia.

Hoopoes make seasonal movements in response to rain in some regions such as in Ceylon and in the Western Ghats. Birds have been seen at high altitudes during migration across the Himalayas. One was recorded at about 6,400 m by the first Mount Everest expedition.

Behaviour and ecology
In what was long thought to be a defensive posture, Hoopoes sunbath by spreading out their wings and tail low against the ground and tilting their head up; they often fold their wings and preen halfway through. They also enjoy taking dust and sand baths.

Diet and feeding
The diet of the Hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground. Insect larvae, pupae and mole crickets are detected by the bill and either extracted or dug out with the strong feet. Hoopoes will also feed on insects on the surface, probe into piles of leaves, and even use the bill to lever large stones and flake off bark. Common diet items include crickets, locusts, beetles, earwigs, cicadas, ant lions, bugs and ants. These can range from 10 to 150 mm in length, with a preferred prey size of around 20–30 mm. Larger prey items are beaten against the ground or a preferred stone to kill them and remove indigestible body parts such as wings and legs.

Hoopoes are monogamous, although the pair bond apparently only lasts for a single season, and territorial. The male calls frequently to advertise his ownership of the territory. Chases and fights between rival males (and sometimes females) are common and can be brutal. Birds will try to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights. The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall, and has a narrow entrance. It may be unlined, or various scraps may be collected. The female alone is responsible for incubating the eggs. Clutch size varies with location: northern hemisphere birds lay more eggs than those in the southern hemisphere, and birds at higher latitudes have larger clutches than those closer to the equator. In central and northern Europe and Asia the clutch size is around 12, whereas it is around four in the tropics and seven in the subtropics. The eggs are round and milky blue when laid, but quickly discolour in the increasingly dirty nest. They weigh 4.5 grams. A replacement clutch is possible.

Hoopoes have well-developed anti-predator defences in the nest. The uropygial gland of the incubating and brooding female is quickly modified to produce a foul-smelling liquid, and the glands of nestlings do so as well. These secretions are rubbed into the plumage. The secretion, which smells like rotting meat, is thought to help deter predators, as well as deter parasites and possibly act as an antibacterial agent. The secretions stop soon before the young leave the nest. From the age of six days, nestlings can also direct streams of faeces at intruders, and will hiss at them in a snake-like fashion. The young also strike with their bill or with one wing.

The incubation period for the species is between 15 and 18 days, during which time the male feeds the female. Incubation begins as soon as the first egg is laid, so the chicks are born asynchronously. The chicks hatch with a covering of downy feathers. By around day three to five, feather quills emerge which will become the adult feathers. The chicks are brooded by the female for between 9 to 14 days. The female later joins the male in the task of bringing food. The young fledge in 26 to 29 days and remain with the parents for about a week more.

Source: Parts of Wikipedia.

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To corjan3: DankPeterZ 1 11-06 11:15
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird in nice pose, fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvuo

Hallo Peter,
Die Hoephoep kom ook algemeen hier voor en kon ek ook nog nooit 'n bevredigende foto daarvan neem nie. Soos jou nota sę maak hulle nes in hol regop boomstamme en het dit 'n baie slegte reuk. Hierdie is die beste foto wat ek nog van 'n Hoephoep gesien het. Welgedaan en beste groete.

Leuke Hoephoep heb je hier Peter
super mooie kleuren en leuk zo van dichtbij goed te zien
Leuke compositie op dat mooie stuk boom
bedankt gr lou

Hi Peter, Nice image of the Hoopoe, background a little disturbing but nevertheless a pleasant picture to view,



  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-11-06 14:19]

HI Peter,beautiful capture of this upupa,very common but that i never seen live in my life,an hungry face but an elegant pose,that you caught in the usual top quality,i like it! Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter- I didn't see this species here in our area till now, although it claims they are abundant in India. Nice to see its beautiful picture. Very good sharpness and a magical light on this bird. BG looks little bit disturbing, but in Bird Park it's difficult to capture a well managed BG picture. So I don't like bird Park. I like another interesting object here and it's green grass. I think this Green Grass helps a lot to the viewer to cherish the beauty of this bird. I like the way you have placed it just beside the frame. Thanks for sharing. Regards and have a nice WE- Srikumar

Hello Peter, Nice photo with excellent colors.

Exciting light and colours MF Peter! Perfect details sharp and DOF.


Hello Peter,
Well controlled colours.
Lovely 'close up' with an IMPRESSIVE eye contact.
Great notes too.
Have never seen this species in person. TFS.
Perhaps, and if you permit me, I'd like to "fix" this B/G ... something wrong here ... don't know what?
Kind regards,
Mario from snow covered and COLD COLD Calgary.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2014-11-15 10:04]

Hello Peter,
One of my favourite birds. I too never managed to make a shot of this magnificent creature. On your picture the bird is aware of your presence, what creates a nice eye-contact.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2014-11-19 18:56]

Hello Peter,
I have seen this bird here on TN a few times and am always intrigued by it's unique body features. The shape of it's long curved bill and high elongated crest reminds me of the head of a pickaxe :)
You have captured an attractive close-up image of this interesting bird, allowing us to see it's pretty plumage and fine facial features. Beautiful natural colors and just the right exposure. Well done!!

VERY BEAUTIFUL image with soft touch of the sun light and details on the feathers makes this this frame grate.

Hi Peter,
Beautiful photo with a well exposed and sharp hoopoe, and in my opinion the background isn't destructing either, because it's blurred the best possible way with using wide aperture. Spectacular shot with aesthetic composition and optimal color saturation, a photo pleasant to look at. Simplistic yet powerful. Bravo!
Best regards, László

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