Upupidae – Hoopoes

Laden with exquisite colors and a crown of beautiful feathers, they are nature’s biological pest control

Upupidae is a three-species family of colorful birds that covers the appealing and easily identifiable Hoopoes. Apart from the Eurasian, African, and Madagascan categories, it includes the extinct Saint Helena Hoopoe. Now, to stand apart from the other members of Buceritoformes (taxonomic order containing Hornbills and Hoopoes), this family entails an elaborate white and black pattern on their feathers with round wings, a distinctive crest (tuft of feathers on the head), and thin curved beaks.

Hoopoes primarily feed on small insects, small reptiles, and frogs after foraging on the ground and hence, are phenomenally human-friendly for getting rid of undesired pests. You’ll rarely find them catching their prey mid-flight, making open grounds necessary for their habitat needs. Another requisite for the territorial Hoopoe populations is the presence of old, cavity-laden trees that facilitate nest-making during the mating season.