The Hoopoe

Saw this flash of red-orange today in the date palm as I was sitting drinking my cafe latte (its Friday, and the first day of the weekend). I tried peering into the tree to see what it was to no avail.  Then afterwards, as we were walking home, I saw this INSANE bird standing on a patch of grass across the road from the original tree.  I’ve never seen anything like it but I had no doubt that it was the source of the red-orange flash I saw in the palm.

Its hard looking up birds on Google when all you have for an image search is ‘orange’ , ‘bird’ and ‘UAE’. In the end I found this guy using ‘orange crest’ and ‘bird’. He’s a ‘Hoopoe’!  A crazy name for a crazy-looking bird.

The Hoopoe

The Hoopoe

According to wiki he is widespread in Europe, Asia and North Africa, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar.

Wiki also says, The Hoopoe prefers open cultivated ground with short grass or bare patches (that’s where I saw him), and spends much time on the ground hunting insects and worms (we guessed he spent a lot of time poking holes in the ground with that beak of his). This black, white and pink bird is quite unmistakable, especially in its erratic flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly.

The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall. Like those of its relatives, the kingfishers, the nest tends to contain copious amounts of faeces and smell very foul as a protection against predators (…reminds me of some flat mates I’ve had in share-houses).

Anyway, that’s him and I think he’s super cool!  In fact, he’s my favourite bird yet.


6 responses to “The Hoopoe

  1. Are you SURE it was a latte you were drinking? That little dude looks as though he’s from a hallucination….. or he’s already readying himself to go as a ‘Speed Queen’ gay laundry nightclub that evening…..

    • the heaviest stuff I have had so far is a starbucks cafe latte. I would love to know her source :-). In theory we are able to get a liquor licence (once our residency is finalised) and are able to buy alcohol. I am still not sure from where though. I will ask and learn 🙂

    • The cost of latte’s (18 dirhams or about 7-8 AUD) here you would think it was laced with something interesting. But no.
      I do miss our local coffee in Kirribilli. Rosa had it all worked out.

  2. Isn’t he nuts? Its even more crazy when he flies like a drunken butterfly.

  3. Hoopoes!!! I had one of these in my garden in Harare. They are gorgeous birds. You are very lucky to have him/her.

  4. My Garden in Harare sounds like the title of an exotic novel. Very Karen Blixen!

    Aren’t they incredible birds? Their flight style is something else altogether. I can imagine a Dreamtime story describing a romantic liaison between a beautiful butterfly woman and a orange crested bird man. (Have you ever read that story about how the Platypus was born of a liaison between a wood duck and a water rat?)

    I’ve not seen him/her again after that day. I hope I do again.

    So many of the birds here seem to be shared with Africa. Some mammals too (e.g. leopards). It’s awesome living in a completely different continent from Australia or Europe in that regard.

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