Family Hoopoes (Upupidae)

Least Concern

Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops)


French: Huppe fasciée German: Wiedehopf Spanish: Abubilla común
Other common names: Hoopoe (when lumped with U. marginata)

Upupa Epops


, 1758,



Until recently, U. marginata widely treated as conspecific, but now separated on basis mainly of distinctive territorial call (see below). Race africana also considered by some to be a full species on basis of varying amounts of white in wing, and other minor differences of colour pattern (possibly also between sexes), but linked to race senegalensis by intermediate waibeli. Races saturata and ceylonensis intergrade with nominate. NW Indian Subcontinent population sometimes separated as race orientalis, but now generally regarded as inseparable from nominate (or intermediate between nominate and ceylonensis#R); paler birds in S & E South Africa sometimes separated as race minor, but validity requires confirmation. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. e. epops Linnaeus, 1758 – Eurasian Hoopoe – NW Africa (E to Libya), Canary Is and C & S Europe S to Lebanon, Jordan and Israel (as far S as N Negev), and E to SC Russia (Ob–Yenisey watershed), NW China (Xinjiang) and NW India; probably this race breeding in N, C & E Arabia#R; wintering grounds very poorly known, but W European breeders probably mainly in W Africa, while C & E European breeders farther E, with migratory divide in C Europe at c. 10–12° E#R.
  • U. e. major C. L. Brehm, 1855 – Egypt, N Sudan and E Chad (Ennedi).
  • U. e. senegalensis Swainson, 1837 – S Algeria (Ahaggar), and dry belt from Senegal E to Ethiopia and Somalia; perhaps this race breeding in SW Arabia (Yemen and extreme SW Saudi Arabia)#R.
  • U. e. waibeli Reichenow, 1913 – Cameroon and N DRCongo E to Uganda and N Kenya.
  • U. e. saturata Lönnberg, 1909 – SC Russia (E of R Yenisey) E to Russian Far East, Korea and occasionally Japan, and S to C China and Tibet; N populations migratory.
  • U. e. ceylonensis Reichenbach, 1853 – plains of Pakistan and N India S to Sri Lanka.
  • U. e. longirostris Jerdon, 1862 – Assam and Bangladesh E to S China, and S to N Malay Peninsula and Indochina.
  • U. e. africana Bechstein, 1811 – African Hoopoe – C DRCongo E to C Kenya, and S to the Cape (South Africa); recorded also in Sudan#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–32 cm; nominate 46–89 g, africana 38–67 g, senegalensis 39–62 g (sexes combined). Unmistakable, with long, thin, decurved bill (5... read more


    Voices of Eurasian and African forms considered identical. Song (audible up to 800 m) in Eurasia... read more


    Open country such as pastures, parkland, orchards, sand-heathland, olive groves, vineyards, also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly larger insects and their soft soil-dwelling larvae and pupae; body size of prey rarely exceeds bill length. Crickets (Gryllidae),... read more


    Season Jan/Feb–May/Aug in Palearctic, mostly Aug–Jan in E Africa, Jul–Dec in S Africa (but mainly Sept–Oct), and... read more


    N populations migratory (performing loop migration), most others partial migrants; nominate ... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Over 700,000 breeding pairs thought to occur in Europe alone (strongholds in Iberia, with up to 600,000, and France, with c. 30,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kri?tín, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 April 2020).