Monday, 28 July 2014

Hoopoe in the Hole

Eurasian Hoopoe (Huppe fasciée) Upupa epops
Near St. Marcet, France
17 July 2014

     Thanks to advance knowledge by good friends in the area, we were able to view for as long as we wished, this young Eurasian Hoopoe peering out from its nest cavity in the wall of an old farm building.

     If I knew how to insert one of those arrows to point to a spot on the picture, I could indicate the location of the bird, but I can assure you it was well camouflaged, and had we been on our own we would certainly have driven by it.
     This youngster appears ready to fledge and fills the entire hole in the wall. It was cheeping noisily as it begged for food from its parents, but they did not return during the half hour or so that we watched. Perhaps they were deliberately trying to get it to leave the safety of the nest, the only world it has known so far.

      Even though the young bird has advanced well into adult type plumage its gape is clearly apparent in all the pictures.

       Hoopoes are enigmatic birds to say the least, and a sighting of one is always cause for rejoicing, but this study of a young bird at this stage of its development far eclipsed any previous encounter as far as I was concerned. It was a special moment in my birding life.
     Thank you Noushka!


  1. You're back and with a great start to your Mediterranean adventures. Shame you didn't see the adult Hoopoes coming with food, as there should/could have been a few more of those youngsters in the hole?

    How interesting that the young have pure white gapes like that. Never seen it because the Hoopoes at our regular Menorca site don't fledge until after we're back home mid- May.

  2. Hello David,
    Wonderful to see how the Hop,in the wall has a nest.
    Great to see the young hop out of the nest.

  3. AHA!!!
    YOUDID IT!!!
    I am having a ball here remembering this outing!
    Lucky for us: he was out 2 days later as I told you in my mail!
    Great pictures!!!

    To Phil:
    The parents were not feeding the young on purpose to get him (them?) to leave the nest!
    Next time time David and Miriam will have to come earlier in the season to take pics of the parents feeding! ;-)
    Oh, and this is their 2nd clutch by the way!!

    1. I wondered about that Noushka because July is so late to have small young.

  4. Beautiful photos of the Hop David.
    Greetings Tinie

  5. We love this species! In our area it is a very rare bird.
    Great shots, David :-).

  6. You're lucky to have such great friends David - this is a fantastic sighting! It's strange that Hoopoes should be such a loved bird, but yes, even I have fallen under their spell when I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

  7. Welcome back, David. We've missed you!

    I love your images of the juvenile Hoopoe. A very special experience! I managed to find the hole in the first image - just continue from the lower edge of the lower beam sticking out of the right hand side of the sloping roof, and you have it (the verbal arrow!).

    Looking forward to more from your European adventures.

    Thank you so much for the card from Foix. It's quite a special place for my wife and I. "Il y a seulement une Foix" used to be the town's touristic slogan (maybe it still is?).

    Best wishes to you both - - Richard

  8. I'm actually a little jealous of you because David Hop is really a gorgeous bird. I have seen this myself yet neve seen in real life but who ever know. Great that you also know a place where he lives. Fantastic pictures. My compliments!

  9. Great set of pictures - I have only seen this species once - and I got very excited!

    Would love to see it more often - but I'll have to get on a plane to do that. Drop me a line when you come back to Australia!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  10. That last image particularly is just beautiful, and a special bird to see.