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.
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.