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Green Woodhoopoe

Phoeniculus purpureus


Phoeniculidae, wood hoopoes and scimitar bills family

Conservation Status:

Least Concern, IUCN


Woodhoopoes are one of the few bird families that are found exclusively in Africa, from Senegal east to Ethiopia and south to South Africa.


Green woodhoopoes dwell in savannah, open woodland, palm groves, acacia thornvelds and wooded garden areas.


They are generally known as one of the noisiest birds of the bush, with their old African regional name ‘Kakelaar’ being derived from its voice.

Green woodhoopoes can reach up to 17 inches in length from their head to sizable tail. The species is named for its dark-green feathers, which have white markings along the wings and tail. The back and tail have purple shadings, and the bill is bright red in adults and black in immature birds. Woodhoopoes are agile, arboreal birds which cling to branches, often hanging upside down while probing crevices in the bark with the long downward curved red bill that is used to probe for insects. They have a musk scent that they secrete from their uropygial gland as a means of defense. Their natural diet consists of arthropods, insects, and occasionally lizards and vertebrates probed out of crevices and fissures in bark, wood and grasses. Prey is either swallowed directly or first beaten against a branch.

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