Hoopoes make #4 on my list of the Small but Mighty Five.
Why? Because look at that hairdo. That’s hard to beat.
Although I try. First thing in the morning, I achieve hoopoe-head, although my do is not that colorful and by running my hands through it a couple of times, I reign mine in and flatten it down to respectable. But if I could keep this going all day, why wouldn’t I?
Hoopoes aren’t large (less than a foot in length), but to me Hoopoes are mighty. Why? Because they make me laugh. Even their scientific name makes me giggle: upupa epops (the Latin and Ancient Greek names for them; they’re named for their cry).
Hoopoes frequented our little yard in Makhanda/Grahamstown.
So did a cat.
But they never tangled.
Could be because Hoopoes are smart. But maybe it’s also because cats are smart. Hoopoes defend themselves using their beaks and, according to 30 Hoopoe Facts, by shooting feces at foxes. I would keep my distance too.
One more Hoopoe fact that gets this bird into my Small But Mighty Five: they get the Bible Animal Bonus. Hoopoes appear in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18 as animals not to be eaten, along with such mighty birds as the eagle, osprey, ostrich, hawk, stork, and heron (see preceding verses).
Next time: #5 of My Small but Mighty Five—the one that surprised me most.