Photographer U. Pradeep Kumar captured a rare sight when walking on Shuwaik beach opposite to Marafie office, a Hoopoe bird searching for food under the hot sun. Despite its attractive and distinctive plumage, the hoopoe is superbly camouflaged for its ground-feeding behavior in its preferred dry habitats. This bird is so outstandingly unique that it was revered in ancient Egypt and is a symbol of virtue in Persia.
Habitat and Migration: These unique birds prefer relatively dry habitats and can be found in orchards, vineyards, olive groves, open woodland, parks, gardens and suburban areas. They are relatively common around human habitation, and can be found year-round along the northern coast of Africa, in the Arabian peninsula, throughout sub-Saharan Africa and from India east to the coast of China. The summer breeding range extends further north to include Europe from Spain and Portugal north to the southern tip of Sweden and east to Korea and southern Japan. In winter, birds at higher latitudes migrate into the year-round range and Indonesia.
During migration, hoopoes can be occasionally seen in southern England, and vagrant birds are recorded in the United Kingdom fairly regularly. Very rare vagrant sightings may occur in Alaska.
Attracting Hoopoes: These unique birds will readily feed near humans in areas with short grass or bare ground that provide easy foraging. Leaving low, decaying walls intact can encourage birds to nest, and they will occasionally use nest boxes or bird houses that are mounted low to the ground.
Conservation: These birds are not endangered or threatened, though illegal hunting can be a problem in some areas. Habitat destruction is the biggest threat for hoopoes, but they are adaptable and can thrive near humans, making it easier for them to relocate if favored habitats become untenable.