Fun Hoopoe Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Hoopoe Facts For Kids

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The hoopoe is a colorful bird known for its crown of feathers. It is found all across Asia, Europe, and Africa and for many years, all the hoopoe subspecies were recognized as just one species: Upupa epops. Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops) birds are vocal birds who have a distinctive call that sounds like ‘hooo-pooo’. Every time it calls, it repeats this hoopoe sound three to five times and this distinctive sound is also from where the hoopoe bird gets its name from. Just a few types of hoopoe birds are the green wood hoopoe, the blue crested hoopoe, and the river hoopoe.

African hoopoe and Eurasian hoopoe birds have a unique defense technique against predators where they lie flat on the ground, spread their wings and tail, and point their beak upwards as if a predator was attacking them. When it comes to flight, these birds are low fliers with irregular wing beats and erratic flight patterns, but if they are being attacked by a bird of prey, they can soar high to escape their predators. Generally found alone or in pairs (especially when breeding), these are not very sociable birds and unless their mate dies, they remain monogamous for life.

African hoopoe and Eurasian hoopoe wings are rounded and broad and they have a tail of a square shape that is black and displays a wide white band. There is a distinctive crest on their head and they have long feathers that are chestnut-colored and have black tips. When the hoopoe bird is resting, this crest will lie backward. However, when they are excited or alarmed, the crest will open up and transform into a beautiful circular shape. The beak of the hoopoe bird is long and slender, it curves slightly downward and is black in color. Their eyes are round, small, and brown-colored and their feet and short legs are grey. Just like other bird species, female hoopoes have a relatively duller appearance.

If you like these hoopoe bird facts about the distribution of this bird, its range, food, family, eggs, and more, you can also check out our fact files about birds of paradise and the barn owl too!

Fun Hoopoe Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?

Insects, berries, seeds, frogs, and small reptiles

Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.76-3.17 oz (50-90 g)

How long are they?

0.4 to 5.9 in (10-150 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Pinkish-brown body with black and white wings

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Cats And Large Birds

What is their conservation status?

Not Extinct

Where you'll find them?

Savannas, Grasslands, Heathland, And Wooded Steppes, Forest Glades


Africa, Europe, And Asia









Hoopoe Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hoopoe?

Hoopoes are colorful birds that are found in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Most notable for its crown of feathers, there are one extinct and three living recognized species of hoopoe birds. For many years, all species were part of one species called Upupa epops and some taxonomists still believe that all three species belong to the same species. Some classify the Eurasian and African hoopoe together and split the Madagascan hoopoe from them.

What class of animal does a hoopoe belong to?

The hoopoe is a bird mainly found in Africa, Europe, and Asia. They are very colorful and are known for the crown of feathers on their head.

How many hoopoes are there in the world?

An accurate number of hoopoes in the world is currently unknown. We do know that they have a large range, being found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Where does a hoopoe live?

Hoopoes are widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Madagascar, Europe, and Asia. In winter, most North Asian and European birds migrate to the tropics but the African population is sedentary all year round.

What is a hoopoe's habitat?

There are two basic requirements for the hoopoe’s habitat. The first one is a need for vertical surfaces with cavities for them to nest in such as cliffs, trees, nest boxes, haystacks, walls, and abandoned burrows, and the second is a need for lightly vegetated grounds for them to forage. There are a lot of ecosystems that can fulfill this requirement and that is why hoopoes are known to inhabit several habitats over a large range, including savannas, heathland, grasslands, forest glades, and wooded steppes. The habitat of this species found in Madagascar is a dense primary forest.

Who does a hoopoe live with?

Females live inside the nest until their eggs hatch. Other birds try closing the nest as much as they can and only leave a small opening from which the male bird can bring food in and out of the nest, maintaining the female hoopoe's diet.

How long does a hoopoe live?

In the wild, the average lifespan of a hoopoe is 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

During the breeding season, females can lay between four and seven eggs that are green and blue in color but become brown quickly. These eggs are incubated by the female for 14 to 20 days. All the chicks are born blind and helpless at the end of the breeding season. The male feeds the chicks who start fledgling at about 26 to 32 days. Hoopoe birds produce one to three chicks each year.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the hoopoe bird as Least Concern.

Hoopoe Fun Facts

What does a hoopoe look like?

A hoopoe is a tiny bird with a pinkish-brown body. It has black and white wings and its bill is long and downcurved. It has a long crest that is pinkish-brown in color.


How cute are they?

With their pinkish-brown body and black and white wings, these beautiful birds are definitely one of the most beautiful and cutest birds out there. Their crest and tail add to their beauty and make them particularly fascinating.

How do they communicate?

The hoopoe's primary call is ‘oop-oop-oop’. However, sometimes, they make a call using their rare four-syllable usage. If they spot sources of alarm such as potential predators, the Upupa Africana hoopoe might also hiss or croak. During their courtship rituals, females produce wheezing cries. Hoopoe chicks also make a ‘tiiii’ sound while crying and asking for food.

How big is a hoopoe?

The hoopoe bird is considered to be of medium size. The average length of their body is about 11.4 in (29 cm). However, their wingspan can stretch to around 18.1 in (46 cm).

How fast can a hoopoe fly?

The top speed of a common hoopoe bird is 24.9 mph (40 kmph). Once it is completely airborne, the hoopoe bird puts out shorter gliding beats. It is because of this that they are nicknamed the ‘butterfly bird’ as they appear a lot like a big butterfly. They start flying by stretching their wings so that they are able to gain altitude. However, they fly low to the ground so that they don’t have to slow down or calculate their distance when steering clear of obstacles. Overall, watching them take a flight is a beautiful sight.

How much does a hoopoe weigh?

The weight of the hoopoe bird depends on their subspecies. However, the average weight of the hoopoe ranges from 1.76-3.17 oz (50-90 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for male and female hoopoes.

What would you call a baby hoopoe?

The name for a baby hoopoe is a hatchling or a chick.

What do they eat?

The main diet of the hoopoe bird is made of insects. However, they can also sometimes eat plant matter like berries and seeds, as well as frogs and small reptiles too. Overall, they are a solitary forager who usually feeds on the ground. In rare cases, they feed in the air where their rounded and strong wings make them maneuverable and strong. This gives them an edge while in the pursuit of different swarming insects. In most cases, their foraging style includes striding over relatively open ground and pausing periodically for probing the ground with the complete length of their bill. The bill detects mole crickets, pupae, and insect larvae, and their strong feet will either dig out or extract them. Hoopoes can also probe into a pile of leaves, using their bill for levering large stones and flaking off bark to feed on the insects present on the surface.

Common insects included in their diet are crickets, beetles, earwigs, ants, antlions, cicadas, and locusts. These prey can be anywhere between 0.4-5.9 in (10-150 mm) in length. However, the preferred size of their prey is about 0.8-1.2 in (20-30 mm). If they want to eat larger prey, they have to beat them against the ground or use a stone in order to kill them. After that, they will remove the indigestible parts of the body like legs and wings and then move on to eating them.

Are they dangerous?

They are not typically dangerous animals but they do produce special chemicals from their preen gland that spreads all over their feathers and skin to protect them from parasites and pathogens. Their strong beak is another important defense that they use against their own species or against predators. When they are fighting for mates or territory, male and female hoopoe birds engage in an aerial duel which can leave one of them badly maimed and injured.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the hoopoe is not a common pet for people to keep.

Did you know...

Hoopoe mythology is mentioned in Surah 27 of the Quran.

One of the best common hoopoe facts is that the bird is also mentioned in the Bible. It describes the hoopoe as an unclean and dirty bird.

Why is the hoopoe the national bird of Israel?

The hoopoe bird was chosen as the national bird of Israel on the country’s 60th birthday. As part of the festivities, people were asked to vote and the hoopoe bird was the winner! The competition had some strong competitors including the sunbird, the goldfinch, and the griffon vulture, but eventually, the hoopoe bird (or the ‘duchifat’ in Hebrew) became the winner.

Are hoopoes good cleaners?

No, as per all the hoopoe bird information that we have, hoopoes are not considered to be good cleaners. Nest sanitation is not their strength and adult birds don’t remove their offspring’s droppings as the smell masks the fledglings’ scent from predators.

Here at Kidadl, we have created lots of family-friendly animal facts for everyone! Learn more about other birds including the secretary bird, or the great green macaw.

You can occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our hoopoe coloring pages.

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Team Kidadl

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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