Family Hoopoes (Upupidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Hoopoe (Upupa marginata)


French: Huppe de Madagascar German: Madagaskarwiedehopf Spanish: Abubilla malgache

Upupa marginata

Cabanis and Heine

, 1860,



Until recently was considered conspecific with U. epops, but differs in its song, “a low cooing trill rrrrrrooow, dropping slightly, lasting 1.5–2.5 s, repeated every 3–10 s” vs typical “hoop-hoop-hoop” heard from African and Asian taxa (4); larger size, best expressed in longer tail (mean of 10 males 116, s.d. 3.17 vs 103 s.d. 3.95 in morphometrically closest longirostris, effect size 3.63) (2); contrast, especially in males, between pinkish-white throat and darker face (1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Madagascar (scarce or absent in most of E#R).

Descriptive notes

32 cm; 57–91 g. Highly distinctive on Madagascar, where U. epops has never been confirmed to occur as a migrant. Compared to latter, present species is larger, with... read more


Song a long, soft resonating purr or cooing trill, “rrrrroow”, sometimes likened to a dove, which... read more


Mainly in dry open country with varying degrees of tree cover, including wooded plains, sparse dry... read more

Food and feeding

Diet apparently exclusively insectivorous, especially larvae; however, comparatively few specific data available, athough following items... read more


Not well known. Lays Sept–Dec, probably also Aug, but mainly Oct–Nov. Monogamous and territorial. Nests in natural tree-cavity, twice in... read more


Resident, with no evidence for any movements.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No estimates of population, but is widespread and common in degraded habitats, and as such may be increasing on C plateau and across... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Madagascar Hoopoe (Upupa marginata). 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).