Die hoephoep is ‘n medium tot groter grootte (lengte 25–27 cm) voël met kenmerkende roesbruin kleur en duidelike verekroon. Dit is ‘n algemene gesig in parke en tuine in Suider-Afrika. Die voël is so uniek dat hy sy eie genus (Upupa) en familie(Upupidae) verteenwoordig. Kop, rug en onderdele helder roesbruin kleur (mannetjie) en wyfie bietjie dowwer roesbruin kleur. Stert hoofsaaklik swart, wit by basis.
The hoopoe /ˈhuːpuː/ is a colourful bird found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers. Three living and one extinct species are recognized, though for many years all were lumped as a single species—Upupa epops.
Upupa and epops are respectively the Latin and Ancient Greek names for the hoopoe; both, like the English name, are onomatopoeic forms which imitate the cry of the bird. In Ancient Egypt the species was known under two names. The earliest most probably having been *’db3.w’ and/or *’db3.t’) ‘(lit.:)the one who blocks up <its nesthole’>’.
Therefore also the early Egyptian word ‘db<3>.t’ (from which late Egyptian Demotic ‘tby’, Coptic ‘toobe’ and subsequently Arabic ‘(al-)tube’ and French and English ‘adobe’ are derived) meaning sundried brick’ (‘lit.: ‘the one that blocks up <a wall>’) was often written with the ‘hoopoe’-hieroglyph, here used as a phonogram. (See Sir A.H.Gardiner, ‘Egyptian Grammar’, Signlist G22 (hierogyph of) Hoopoe, used as Phonogram: ḏb/ḏbt.)
The youngest name -dating from New Kingdom to late demotic texts- was ‘kkp.t’ (probably: ‘koukoupat’), this name akin to Biblical Hebrew ‘douchiphat’, which word is apparently not formed from any Ancient Egyptian root. (drs. Carles Wolterman, Egyptologist)
The hoopoe was classified in the clade Coraciiformes, which also includes kingfishers, bee-eaters, and rollers. A close relationship between the hoopoe and the woodhoopoes is also supported by the shared and unique nature of their stapes. In the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, the hoopoe is separated from the Coraciiformes as a separate order, the Upupiformes. Some authorities place the woodhoopoes in the Upupiformes as well. Now the consensus is that both hoopoe and the wood hoopoes belong with the hornbills in the Bucerotiformes.
The fossil record of the hoopoes is very incomplete, with the earliest fossil coming from the Quaternary. The fossil record of their relatives is older, with fossil woodhoopoes dating back to the Miocene and those of an extinct related family, the Messelirrisoridae, dating from the Eocene.