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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Upupiformes (hoopoes, wood-hoopoes, scimitarbills)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) 

Families indigenous to southern Africa

Upupidae (Hoopoe)

A single species, the African hoopoe Upupa africana.

The African hoopoe is a very widespread range, found everywhere in southern Africa except deserts, karoo and, strangely, Lesotho. It mainly lives in tall woodlands with short cut grass undergrowth, but it has also adapted well to living with humans, and can be found in many urban areas. It feeds on insects, probing the ground with its bill. It often nests in tree holes up to 8m above ground, as well as a number of man-made structures. It lays 4-7 eggs, which are incubated exclusively by the female. The chicks stay in the nest for 26-32 days before leaving the nest for the surrounding foliage. They remain dependent on their parents for at least 1 month before becoming fully independent.

Phoeniculidae (wood-hoopoes)

Rhinopomastidae (scimitarbills)

One species: Common scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas

The Common scimitarbill is a common bird in the top 3 quarters of southern Africa, living in tropical or subtropical arid woodland, favouring miombo and Mopane trees. It feeds almost exclusively on insects, running up and down trees, probing the bark with its bill. It uses natural or barbet/woodpecker made holes in trees as nests. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge at 21-24 days, after which they leave the nest. The fledglings first flight is usually 10-50 m long.