The Feeder Feed: Met “Hoopoe” Edition

In the new Near East section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you are able to view “The Concourse of the Birds”, which is on a folio of the Mantiq al-Tair (Language of the Birds) of ‘Attar, painted in about 1600 in Iran.


The glorious Hoopoe has a gathering of birds to whom he is telling stories.

They are about to go on a long and dangerous journey.


I should very much like to see a Hoopoe someday.

Come to think of it, I believe I have encountered a Hoopoe or two.  They are sometimes encountered in large cities in the form of officious prating coxcombs in clerical garb.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Denita says:

    What neat looking bird- love the orange

  2. Random Friar says:

    They look like a cross between a mourning dove and a woodpecker! (And an interesting cross that would be…)

  3. wanda says:

    Ooh, what a fine-looking bird. Never heard of him. He looks as if he could tell some tall tales.
    Enjoy the sights and sounds, Fr. Z.

  4. Denis says:

    I’ve seen some hoopoes in Croatia, where they’re called “bozji kokoti,” or “God’s roosters.” They’re quite impressive.

  5. Banjo pickin girl says:

    In the beginning of James Mitchener’s The Source there is a man nicknamed Hoopoe by the village children. Very amusing.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Middle Eastern art can be so subtle and yet so over-the-top at the same time. The birds here are like something out of the Garden of Eden, which may have been very close to where this was painted. Such exotic birds and the colors seem ethereal. Thank you for sharing this. Hope you are really enjoying New York and that it is not to cold and dreary.

    I would not only like to see a Hoopoe in the wild, but hear one. If you go to the Southwest of England, you may actually see one.

    He does his crown thing towards the end of the video.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    Banjo pickin girl,
    A hoopoe also figures briefly in one of Kipling’s short stories, “The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat”. Apparently he got his crest from King Solomon, at least according to the Koran.

  8. MJFarber says:

    Looks like a woodpecker that fell off the branch into some milk weed. What a great outfit to wear during deer season!

  9. TomGMS says:

    A prating coxcomb, eh? Fluellen would approve. ;)

  10. Just amazing! Reminds me of an Apache dancer. I have never seen one of these.It makes me wonder how many creatures God created that we have never seen because He created them for His own pleasure.

  11. irishgirl says:

    Wow-never knew there was such a bird! Very cool-looking feathers on the head!
    I also like the painting from the Met; very delicate!
    Hope the nice weather holds in NYC for you, Father Z!

  12. irishgirl says:

    Supertradmum-I went on the video link which you had in your post. What a monstrous bird!
    The comb on the head flared up but briefly; I thought it was going to charge the camera!
    It sure liked to peck around in the ground-it was gobbling up worms like spaghetti! [ewwww]

  13. Emilio III says:

    Didn’t Stephen Maturin see a hoopoe in Malta? (Or was it in Port Mahon?)

  14. Emilio: Funny you should mention that. I was out walking around today and I suddenly remembered that episode as well. I will post about it. Great moment in the first book!

  15. wanda says:

    Thank you, Supertradmum, for posting that video. Wow, what a bird! That is one serious-looking beak! His profile with head feathers down reminds me of the very earliest cartoons of Woody Woodpecker. Thanks, again.

  16. wanda: I think Woody was an Acorn Woodpecker. No?

  17. wanda says:

    A fast google search finds several who say that Woody is based on a Pileated Woodpecker. One site added that he has characteristics of a Red-Headed one, as well. I just thought when I saw the Hoopoe with his head feathers down, that he looks like the very early, black and white cartoons of Woody. I know, I’m dating myself. I think it’s cool that you make time for the Feeder Feed even when on the road! Enjoy yourself, Fr. Z.

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