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Related to Upupidae: englut, African Hoopoe


(vertebrate zoology)
The Old World hoopoes, a family of birds in the order Coraciiformes whose young are hatched with sparse down.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of birds of the order Coraciiformes. The bill of the Upupidae is long and awl-like. The wings are broad, and the tail is straight. There is a long crest on the head. The legs are short, with long toes; the third and fourth toes are fused at the base.

The family comprises the single species hoopoe (Upupa epops). The hoopoe’s body length ranges from 26 to 30 cm. The plumage, similar in the male and female, is the color of red clay, with black and white spots.

The hoopoe is distributed in Africa, on Madagascar, and in Europe and Asia (except in the north); in the USSR it is found in the more southern regions, between 55° and 60° N lat. From the more northern regions it migrates to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The hoopoe lives in open country, especially in forest-steppes and steppes, often near human dwellings and animal-raising farms. It nests in tree hollows, in piles of stones, in structures, or in burrows in ravines. The female lays four to six eggs per clutch, which she alone incubates for about 18 days. The young hatch covered with sparse down. The hoopoe feeds on spiders, insects, and worms, which it gathers on the ground or extracts from excrement.

Closely related to the family Upupidae is the family Phoenicu-lidae (wood hoopoes), distributed in tropical Africa and on Madagascar. The family Phoeniculidae comprises six species. The wood hoopoe’s body length ranges from 22 to 38 cm. The bill is long and curved. The plumage is black, with a dark-blue, green, or purple sheen. The wood hoopoe lives in forests or savannas and nests in tree hollows. It feeds on insects, spiders, and seeds.


Rukovodstvopo zoologii, vol. 6: Ptitsy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.