Exotic Hoopoe bird touches down in
THE biggest influx of a
rare and exotic bird seen for 50 years is happening
along the coast of Ireland.
The stunning Hoopoe has birdwatchers aflutter with
sightings of the colourful creature reported in
recent days in Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and
BirdWatch Ireland said bird lovers in Co Donegal
might also be lucky enough to get sightings.
The Hoopoe is a distinctive cinnamon colour and is
notable for its zebra-striped wings and crest of
head feathers which fan open upon landing.
Photo of Hoopoe by Jimmy Murphy
posted on the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page.
At least 45 of the
birds have been recorded so far and experts believe
these "exceptional" numbers could be on track to
match or exceed a similar influx in 1965 when some
65 were spotted here.
Ireland typically sees less than ten Hoopoes a year.
BirdWatch Ireland field worker Niall Keogh said the
Hoopoe is typically associated with warmer regions
such as continental Europe and north Africa.
"A small number of Hoopoes, usually less than ten
birds in total, are recorded in Ireland most years
in early Spring or late Autumn when migrating birds
accidentally stray off course," said Mr Keogh.
"The recent high pressure system which stretched up
from southern Europe probably led to many Hoopoes
'overshooting' - that is migrating too far, and
ending up on the south coast of Ireland," he added.
The Hoopoe, which is the national bird of Israel, is
typically about 12 inches long with a wingspan of
about 18 inches.
It favours sunny patches of short-cropped, dry
grassland such as well-kept lawns and golf courses
where it uses its long, thin bill to eke out insects
including beetles, ants and crickets.
One of its most characteristic features is its
undulating pattern of flight, that birdwatchers
typically describe as like a large butterfly in
The Hoopoe gets its English name from its
distinctive oop-oop calling card.
Mr Keogh urged people to report any sightings to
BirdWatch Ireland along with the date and location.
"Please keep an eye out for this superb bird and let
us know if you are fortunate enough to see one,” he
Sightings can be reported via email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning