During the non-breeding season, different species of finches and thrushes from central and northern Europe move in response to harsh weather conditions to southern Europe. On our birding trips at this time of the year we observe these wintering birds sharing the area with resident birds as our beloved Iberian azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cooki).  But it is not rare either to see another bird with a long and decurved bill and a large crest, which remind us to birds we observe in our African birding adventures…..that´s the unmistakable Common hoopoe!

Hoopoes / Abubillas. Photo by Ugo Mellone/Wildphoto.it

The Hoopoe is mainly migratory but many winter in the south-west and the Mediterranean coast. Photo by Ugo Mellone/Wildphoto.it

The Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is present all year round in most of Spain being the core distribution in the south-west and the eastern coastlands from Andalusia to Catalonia. The central and eastern Europe´s population is fully migrant where is a summer visitor spending the winter in Africa but the Spanish population is resident or partial migrant, therefore can be observed all year round.

Spain and Portugal hold 90% of the European breeding population and, thanks to ringing recoveries, we know that wintering birds in Spain are mostly Iberian breeders.


– De Juana, E. & García, E. 2015. The birds of the Iberian Penísula. Christopher Helm. London

Featured image by Ugo Mellone/wildphoto.it 


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