Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The “Hoopoe” is Distinctive Crown Feathers Bird

The hoopoe is a medium sized colorful bird, almost 25 to 32 cm long, with a 44 to 48 cm wingspan. The bird weighs is approximately 46 to 89 g. The species is highly distinctive, notable for its distinctive "crown" of feathers 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 bird has wide and rounded wings gifted of strong flight; these’re larger in the northern migratory subspecies. The bird has a characteristic undulating flight, which is same that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.
The hoopoe or Upupa epops is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. Well, same as Latin name upupa, the English name is an onomatopoeic form which reproduces the cry of the bird. The hoopoe is the national bird of Republic of Israel. The bird is named after its vocalizations, the Eurasian hoopoe emits a low "hoop, hoop, hoop, hoop". The pinkish brown to chestnut plumage with black and white bars and an inspiring fan-like crest make the Eurasian hoopoe instantly recognizable. The Eurasian hoopoe forages mainly on short grass and bare soil for invertebrates.
The bird call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which may give rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common. The hoopoe is prevalent 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 species has been a vagrant in Alaska; U. e. saturata was recorded there in 1975 in the Yukon Delta. Hoopoes have been known to breed north of their European range, and in southern England during warm, dry summers that provide plenty of grasshoppers and similar insects, although as of the early 1980s northern European populations were reported to be in the decline, possibly due to changes in climate.
The unique hoopoe has two basic requirements of its habitat, one is bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities in which to nest.

These requirements can be provided in a wide range of ecosystems, and as a result the hoopoe inhabits a wide range of habitats such as heathland, wooded steppes, savannas and grasslands, as well as forest glades. The change of natural habitats by humans for numerous agricultural purposes has led to hoopoes becoming common in olive groves, orchards, vineyards, parkland and farmland, even though they’re less common and are declining in intensively farmed areas. Moreover hunting is of concern in southern Europe and Asia. The beautiful hoopoes are distinctive birds and have made a big cultural impact over much of their range. Though they were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, and were portrayed on the walls of tombs and temples. They achieved a similar standing in Minoan Crete.
The Hoopoes make seasonal travelers in response to rain in some regions such as in Ceylon and in the Western Ghats. The birds have been seen at high altitudes during migration across the Himalayas. One case was recorded at about 21,000 feet by the first Mount Everest expedition. In what was long thought to be a defensive posture, normally hoopoes sunbathe by spreading out their wings and tail low against the ground and tilting their head up; they frequently fold their wings and preen halfway through. They also like taking dust and sand baths.
The Hoopoe diet is mostly consists of insects, small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. You know it is a solitary forager which naturally feeds on the ground. Moreover they’ll rarely feed in the air, where their strong and rounded wings make them fast and maneuverable, in pursuit of plentiful swarming insects. The bird commonly their foraging style is to stride over relatively open ground and occasionally pause to probe the ground with the full length of their bill. The Hoopoe 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. The Hoopoe common diet items include crickets, locusts, beetles, earwigs, cicadas, ant lions, bugs and ants.
Hoopoes are monogamous, though the pair bond actually only lasts for a single season, and territorial. The male bird calls frequently to promote his ownership of the territory. Chases and fights between rival males and sometimes females are common and can be brutal. Hoopoe bird’s likes to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights. The Hoopoe prefer to make nest is in a hole in a tree or wall, and left a narrow entrance in them. It may be unlined, or numerous scraps may be collected. The female bird is accountable for incubating the eggs. Because their 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 & northern Europe and Asia the clutch size is about 12, while it is about 4 in the tropics and 7 in the subtropics. The eggs shapes are round and milky blue when laid, but rapidly discolor in the increasingly dirty nest. They weigh 4.5 grams.
Hoopoes have well-developed anti-predator defenses in the nest. The uropygial gland of the incubating and brooding female is speedily modified to create a foul-smelling liquid, and the glands of nestlings do so as well. These secretions are rubbed into the plumage, which smells like rotting meat, and is thought to support deter predators, as well as deter parasites and probably act as an antibacterial agent. The secretions end 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 lies between 15 to 18 days, during that time the male feeds the female bird. However incubation initiates as soon as the first egg is laid, so the chicks are born asynchronously. The baby chicks hatch with a covering of downy feathers. Moreover by around three to five days, feather quills emerge which will become the adult feathers. The baby bird is brooded by the female for between nine to fourteen days. The female bird later joins the male in the task of carrying food. The young fledge in 26 to 29 days and remain with the parents for about a week more. The main diet of the hoopoe includes numerous species considered by humans to be pests, such as the pupae of the processionary moth, a damaging forest pest. So, for this reason the species are afforded protection under the law in various countries.
Hoopoes also has (zikr) appeared in the Qur’an and are recognized as the "hudhud", in Surah Al-Naml 27:20–22: "And Prophet Hazrat Salman (A.S) sought among the birds and said: How is it that I see not the hoopoe, or is he among the absent? I verily will punish him with hard punishment or I verily will slay him, or he verily shall bring me a plain excuse. But the hoopoe was not long in coming, and he said: I have found out (a thing) that thou apprehendest not, and I come unto thee from Sheba with sure tidings." Islamic literature also states that a hoopoe saved Moses and the children of Israel from being crushed by the giant Og after crossing the Red Sea. You can read out full article of Prophet Sulayman (PBUH), Bilqees, and the Hud-Hud at Read Full Story at Muslimvillage

Hoopoes were seen as a symbol of virtue in Persia. A hoopoe was a leader of the birds in the Persian book of poems The Conference of the Birds ("Mantiq al-Tayr" by Attar) points out that the “Simurgh" was the king of the birds. Hoopoes were thought of as thieves across much of Europe, and harbingers of war in Scandinavia. In Estonian tradition, hoopoes are strongly connected with death and the underworld; their song is believed to foreshadow death for many people or cattle. The hoopoe is the king of the birds in the Ancient Greek comedy The Birds by Aristophanes. The bird's crest indicates his royal status, and his long, sharp beak is a symbol of his violent nature. English translators and poets probably had the northern lapwing in mind, considering its crest.

The video is shooting by me in Lahore Pakistan, when a pair of this beautiful bird was grassing in the fields. As this is migratory bird and have often comes in Lahore Pakistan in spring season. When the season over, they’ve move to some other location. Check out the video at the end of post.

The Wonderful “Hoopoe or Eurasian hoopoe” is Notable distinctive Crown Feathers Bird from Tauheed Ahmad Nawaz on Vimeo.

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