- Scientific name: Upupa
English common name: Hoopoe
Nederlandse triviale naam: Hop
At the entrance of Lake Nakuru National Park the group was just waiting for our tickets and hanging around in the shade. As always, I walked around in search of some wildlife. Like the skinks on the walls of the gate. And under a tree, in the grass was a hoopoe. I seized the opportunity and took some photos. The only Hoopoe I've spotted in 2.5 months throughout East-Africa. A bird with a very distinct look, so identification is always easy.
Hoopoes exist throughout Eurasia and Africa. They usually can be found in open country, plains and hills. Hoopoes can be recognized instantly by their 'crown' and orange-brown feathers and black-and-white wings and tail. The name for the bird is onomatopoetic; their call sounds like Hoopoe or Upupa.
The Hoopoes are basically a single species family; within the family Upupidae there is only one species: the Hoopoe (Upupa epops). With several subspecies. The African Hoopoe is a subspecies of the Hoopoe. The African Hoopoe once was considered to be a separate species: Upupa africana, but scientists have left that path. The Saint Helena Hoopoe (Upupa antaios) was a once a separate species, living on the island of St. Helena, but became extinct the 16th century.
Hoopoes are placed within the order Coraciiformes, which consists of Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Hornbills, Wood-hoopoes and Hoopoes. Sometimes the Coraciiformes are considered a clade, not an order. The evolutionary lineage is not always clear and since the Hoopoes are a bit of an odd-ball, some scientists consider different orders for the Hoopoe family to be placed in. ITIS places Hoopoes together with Hornbills in a new order Bucerotiformes. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy places the Hoopoes in its own order, the Upupiformes. I follow the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species and keep the Hoopoe family within the order Coraciiformes. Encyclopedia Of Life lists several taxonomical systems. In the future taxonomic placement of the Hoopoes might change when there is more consensus.