A Common Hoopoe forages in Prague - Observation of the Week, 5/12/19

Our Observation of the Week is this Common Hoopoe, seen in the Czech Republic by @lioneska!

“A few years ago, I became seriously interested in birds thanks to one of my friends,” says Gabi Lioneska Uhrova. It took me a long time though to get to know them…[but] I can say that I’ve become a loony (crazy) in observing them and I started to take pictures of them too. I’ve also become a member of the Czech Society for Ornithology.”

After hearing about a Common Hoopoe sighting in Prague, Gabi decided to check out the area after work the next day and started scanning for the bird with her binoculars. After some time she stumbled across it on the path in front of her, no more than twenty meters away, and watched it pick up an insect.

My heart jumped with joy. “Ohh, you are so beautiful, little bird,” I thought to myself. The advantage was that it was quite tame, and its escape distance was short. When disturbed it would fly to a tree and then continue to forage for food again.

Later on a friend of mine, Tereza, joined me to take picture of it. My goal was to lie down and take a picture of it in its natural habitat, grass, which I managed to do thanks to its tame behaviour. After that we just sat there and watched this amazing bird using its long thin beak as tweezers. We were simply so lucky. This is one of my most precious bird observations because I had not seen one in a long time and it is a rare species for me. I was really grateful for this opportunity.

The Common Hoopoe ranges through much of Europe, Asia, and into southern Africa, and as Gabi described, it likes to forage for insects in flat grassy areas. Much of the foraging is done with its long thin beak, with which it probes the ground for insects, and it will raise the crest on its head when excited. Hoopoes nest in tree cavities, or really any cavity on a vertical surface.

In addition to birds, Gabi (above, on the right) loves to photograph and observe butterflies. “During spring and summer season I often make trips to different types of habitats to watch them,” she says. “It isn’t easy to take a good picture of them; it’s always a challenge but I love it, I take my time and enjoy it.”

Gabi first discovered iNaturalist during the 2018 City Nature Challenge, and tells me “Now I upload most of my observations of nature [to iNaturalist]. Sometimes there is no time to do it all at once. I love the application because it is so simple to use, and I have overview of all my observations at one place...If I see a beetle or other interesting insect or a flower, I take picture of them too and post it to iNaturalist or Facebook groups that we have in my country for determination.”

- by Tony Iwane. Some quotes were lightly edited for flow.

- An adult hoopoe feeds its young - in slow motion!

- Some nice footage of foraging hoopoes.

Posted on 13 May, 2019 00:39 by tiwane tiwane


what a beautiful bird indeed! Prague is a beautiful city! Thanks for sharing your observation :)

Posted by mira_l_b about 5 years ago

I like it. :)

Posted by upupa-epops about 5 years ago

Wow! Amazing......superb

Posted by gonuu about 5 years ago

This is an outstanding looking bird! It truly looks like it is ready for some serious conga line, party. It also reminds me of the film actress , Carmen Miranda, she did a dance routine and sang with a huge head dress of fruit on her head. (sorry but that is what I see) Thanks for sharing such a unique looking bird.

Posted by walkingstick2 about 5 years ago


Posted by alexis_orion about 5 years ago

Thanks, everyone :) yeah, it was for me unforgettable experience to see this rare bird so close... Unfortunately there are not many of them left in my country.. thats why it is so rare and it is an endangered species.

Posted by lioneska about 5 years ago

The photo is absolutelly stunning and so are many others that you have taken and uploaded on Inaturalist. Thanks for sharing them with us and congrats!

Posted by boromir about 5 years ago

Thanks a lot boromir :) Im trying to do my best :D

Posted by lioneska about 5 years ago

Wow! That bird is so cool! Nice job! :)

Posted by theturkologist about 5 years ago

It is so exciting to see a beautiful bird like that, in a beautiful place like Praha!

Posted by lagoondon about 5 years ago

Beautiful pictures of this peculiar looking bird! Congratulations to Observation of the Week!

Posted by annikaml about 5 years ago

Thanks, annikaml :)

Posted by lioneska about 5 years ago

Wow! I'd love to see this bird some day. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the observation of the week.

Posted by markmcknight about 5 years ago

I love the Hoopoes. I had the privilege of living in Cairo, Egypt for 10 years, and for two years, they nested in a hole on my 5th floor balcony. They are just delightful and I'm so glad you were able to find this migrant. Your pictures are lovely. Keep posting!!

Posted by pam-piombino about 5 years ago

Thanks a lot markmcknight and pam-piombino :) thats a lovely story about hoopoe nesting at your balcony :) you are so lucky!

Posted by lioneska about 5 years ago

Hermoso! Gracias por compartir!!

Posted by marreginas about 5 years ago

Used to see these in my yard every winter growing up in France. Shy birds, we had to stay so still and quiet just to get a glimpse at them... or was it summer? can't remember now.

Posted by patsimpson2000 about 5 years ago

Very nice story and photos. Loved reading about your experience! One note - this species is found in southern Africa as well as the "northern part of Sub-Saharan Africa." I have seen them around Johannesburg, RSA.

Posted by nrach almost 4 years ago

Thanks a lot, @nrach :)

Posted by lioneska almost 4 years ago

@nrach thanks for the correction, I've amended the text.

Posted by tiwane almost 4 years ago

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