Beast

Hoopoe


Latin name: Hupupa
Other names: Epopus, Hupe, Huppe, Puppupe, Upega, Uppompe, Upupa, Wiedehopfs, Yppopus

The young care for their elderly parents

General Attributes

When the hoopoe get old and their eyes grow dim, their children come to care for them. The children pull out the old feathers and lick the mist off their parents' eyes, rejuvenating the old birds. The young say they do this to repay their parents for caring for them. (Some writers ascribe these characteristics to the stork instead.)

The hoopoe is said to be a filthy bird that collects human dung and builds its nest with it, and eats bad-smelling excrement. It also likes to live around tombs. It is further said that if the blood of the hoopoe is rubbed on a sleeping man, devils will try to strangle him.

Allegory/Moral

Children should follow the example of the hoopoe and care for their parents when they are old, as their parents cared for them.

Illustration

Hoopoes are usually drawn with a head crest, but otherwise differ greatly from artist to artist. They are often shown with the children caring for their parents.

Reality

The hoopoe is a real bird, found across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Some manuscript illustrations of hoopoes look like the real bird, but most do not.