Kenya Birds

White-headed Wood-hoopoe


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White-headed Wood-hoopoe

Photograph(s) Copyright ©P&H HARRIS

Phoeniculus bollei

Other Names

  English Buff-headed Wood-hoopoe   French Irrisor à tête blanche   German Weißmaskenhopf   Spanish Abubilla-arbórea Cabeciblanca   Swedish Vithövdad skratthärfågel     Italian Upupa boschereccia testabianca

World: Africa - from the Ivory Coast to Cameroon in the W through to the E of the continent across the northern borders of the Congo Basin to E Zaire, S Sudan, Uganda, NE Tanzania and Kenya.

Kenya: Highland Forest in the W and Central regions between 2000-3000m

This is the only Highland Forest Wood-hoopoe found in Kenya, which makes its identification (even with juveniles) rather easier than with other birds. It is mainly insectivorous, probing crevices in tree bark and among lichens and epiphytes to find arthropods, spiders, caterpillars, larvae and occasionally seeds and fruits. It will hammer at dead wood to get at prey and also pries off chunks of bark with its bill. It is agile and climbs on the underside of branches using its wings and tail for stability. It is a gregarious bird which is generally seen in pairs or small, noisy parties.

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