Phoeniculus damarensis (Violet wood-hoopoe) 

Perskakelaar [Afrikaans]; Damara-kakelaar [Dutch]; Irrisor damara [French]; Damarabaumhopf [German]; Zombeteiro da Damaralāndia [Portuguese]

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Phoeniculus damarensis (Violet wood-hoopoe)   

Violet wood-hoopoe with caught insect, Etosha National Park, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

 

The Violet wood-hoopoe's population is small and localized, with an estimated 1 650 birds scattered across Namibian and Angolan Mopane woodland. It is mostly insectivorous, foraging in trees, occasionally dropping to the ground to pick up an insect. It is a monogamous, cooperative breeder, meaning that non-breeding birds help the breeding pair with incubation and caring of the chicks. It nests in tree cavities, laying 4-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female. The chicks are cared for by the female, who is supplied with food hunted by the male or group members

Distribution and habitat

Its population is small and localized, with an estimated 1 650 birds scattered across Namibia and extending into southern Angola (not included in population figure). It generally prefers Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland, but it may also move into other types of arid woodland.

Distribution of Violet wood-hoopoe in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Call

 
   

Recorded by O.M. Prozesky, [© Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

Mostly insectivorous, doing most of its foraging in trees, occasionally dropping to the ground to pick up an insect. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • It is a monogamous, cooperative breeder, meaning that non-breeding birds help the breeding pair with incubation and caring of the chicks.
  • It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by a barbet or woodpecker.
  • Egg-laying season is from December-April.
  • It lays 4-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, who is fed by the male and the other group members.
  • The chicks are cared for solely by the female, while the rest of the group (including the male) provide food for her and the chicks.

Threats

Due its small and localized population it is considered to be at risk, although this has not officially been recognised.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 
 

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