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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Hoopoe



Awaiting image for this species

(could be a long wait!)




(Eurasian Hoopoe)

Upupa epops


  • Hoopoe (Eurasian Hoopoe)
  • Upupa epops
  • UK: scarce spring passage visitor (Late April - May). Has bred
  • UK: 116 records a year, usually single birds
  • WI: Accidental/vagrant, approx 5 records in a century
  • Breeds: Nests in hole in tree or wall. Prefers farming areas with open grazing, open woodland, copses, hedges, bushes. savanna, steppe. Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Bangladesh
  • Winters: Tropical Africa, Asia (resident in many equatorial areas)
  • Diet: Feeds on insects mostly caught on ground & also pulled from underground - so short grass areas or bare patches. Has very short tongue in long bill so swallows food (Insects: worms, grasshoppers, crickets, larvae, locusts) by throwing it into the air & catching it way back in the gullet.
  • Exotic looker! Large Thrush-size. Pinkish-brown body. Black & white stripes. Long, narrow, downcurved bill. Both sexes have a flat ornamental crest of long feathers that rests folded on nape (when bird is excited they raise and expand forming a spectacular fan. Tail broad white band. Flight flappy & erratic. Wings broad & rounded.
  • Average lifespan 11years
  • Listen to a hoopoe (RSPB site)( "hoop-hoop-hoop")



Hoopoe records in the Western Isles

Very rare accidental/vagrant (five or less records)
A Hoopoe recently occured in Plocrapool South Harris on April, 2008

The chart below shows how abundant the Hoopoe is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.
















(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


We had some exotic excitement in the islands in April 2008 when Hoopoes, migrating to from the East African wintering site overshot the usual European breeding grounds....

You may be interested to know that a HOOPOE landed by my croft house in Flodigarry Isle of Skye at approx 8.15 am today. It stayed for some 5 mins. busily foraging in the field, its crest staying erect for the entire time. Both my wife and I observed with the naked eye and binoculars. The last time I saw a Hoopoe was over 50 years ago in the South of England.
Kevin Penman
Wednesday 23rd April, 2008


Iceland, our neighbours in some birding ways, also had a Hoopoe sighting around that time, this is from Yann who does the Icelandic Birding Pages:

"Hoopoe (boarded a trawler 1/2 way to Faroes same day as a Hoopoe was seen on Skye)....Unfortunately for the Icelandic list (and the bird) the Hoopoe landed on the trawler outside Icelandic waters, was brought to Iceland and now there has been heavy snowfall in the east and north of Iceland... where many of the latest vagrants turned up (the great white egret, cuckoo, yellow wagtail..)"
Wednesday 23rd April, 2008


A Hoopoe today in south Harris at Plocrapool.
Probably the recent Skye bird nipping over the Minch.
Martin S
Tuesday 29th April, 2008



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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