Hoopoe - The National Bird Of Israel

The Hoopoe is the national bird of Israel. It was chosen as Israel's national bird back in the year 2008, following a national survey, outpolling the white-spectacled bulbul.
Jun 30, 2017, 4:26 pm ISTBirdsLoveAnimals Staff

The Hoopoe is characterized by a crest of Orange on the head and stained black. In addition, it has black and white bands on their wings and tail. The black and white list of the hoopoe is most visible as it flies. In fact, the hoopoe goes unnoticed in sandy soils. The Hoopoe has a long curved beak down used to dig up larvae of the insects on which it feeds. Its undulating flight as the butterflies, with sudden changes of direction is also distinctive of the hoopoe.

Hoopoes are widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Most European and north Asian birds migrate to the tropics in winter. The hoopoe has two basic requirements of its habitat: bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities (such as trees, cliffs or even walls, nestboxes, haystacks, and abandoned burrows.

Hoopoes have a special gland near the anus, which produces a foul-smelling substance. The bird rubs this substance on its feathers, covering its entire body with a stench similar to that of rotten flesh. Not many predators are interested on having such a foul-smelling bird for dinner. This substance, however, has a second function; it acts as a parasite repellent, and as an antibacterial agent, protecting the hoopoe from many diseases. Interestingly, the adult hoopoes produce this secretion only when incubating its eggs and taking care of its young; once the chicks leave the nest, the mother stops producing the noxious substance. As for baby hoopoes, they have their very own defensive method; when threatened while alone at the nest, they squirt their feces right into the predator’s face. Needless to say, this is a very effective technique to get rid of unwanted visitors.

Due to its association with King Solomon, the bird is traditionally viewed in a positive light. According to Jewish folklore (as well as the Koran), the hoopoe helped lead King Solomon to the Queen of Sheba. Unsure about the queen's purity and motives, Solomon confided in the bird and trusted its advice. The king also praised the hoopoe's observation techniques and called it "wise."