About 27 centimetres long, the hoopoe is one of the most striking and distinctive birds in Europe, with a pink head, neck and breast, and black and white striped wings, back and tail. Its long, narrow bill curves slightly downward. It has an erectile crest on its crown that makes it resemble an Indian chief.
The migratory hoopoe breeds in open, grazing country with copses, hedges and bushes. It is found across Europe except for the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe.
The hoopoe’s song is a hollow, trisyllabic “oop-oop-oop” repeated several times. It nests in the hollows of trees or walls. If the chicks are disturbed they give out a foul-smelling liquid. The hoopoe feeds mainly on insects.