African hoopoe

The African hoopoe (Upupa africana) is a species of hoopoe in the family Upupidae.[1] Previously considered as a subspecies (Upupa epops africana) of the hoopoe, due to its vocalisations and small differences in plumage, it is otherwise similar to that species.

African hoopoe
African Hoopoe, Upupa africana (Upupa epops) at Marakele National Park, Limpopo, South Africa (16218185517).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Upupidae
Genus: Upupa
U. africana
Binomial name
Upupa africana
Bechstein, 1811

Upupa epops africana

The species was described by the German naturalist Johann Matthäus Bechstein under the current binomial name Upupa africana.[2]


The African hoopoe is 25-28 centimeters (10-11 inches) in length and weighs 40-60 grams (1.4-2.1 ounces). It has a long, decurved bill, with cinnamon, black and white plumage and a long crest that raises when the bird is alarmed. Its wings are broad and rounded. The female is slightly duller than the male with less white in the secondary feathers. The juvenile has dull buff underparts with a shorter bill and buff tinge to the white wing bars.[3]


"Hoop-oop" or "Hoop-oop-oop", typically with all notes at the same pitch.[3]

Distribution and ecologyEdit

The African hoopoe can be found in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the southern half of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It inhabits broadleaf forests and savannah. It feeds on insects and their larvae, foraging by inserting its beak into the ground.[3]


  1. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Todies, motmots, bee-eaters, hoopoes, wood hoopoes & hornbills". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ Bechstein (1811). Johann Lathams allgemeine Uebersicht der Vögel (in German). 4 Part 1. Nürnberg: Schneider und Weigel. p. 172.
  3. ^ a b c Sinclair, Ian; Ryan, Peter (2009). Complete Photographic Field Guide: Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Nature.