Hoopoes: Upupidae - Diet
Hoopoes eat mostly insects, particularly soft larvae (LAR-vee; active immature insects) and pupae (PYOO-pee; developing insects found inside cocoons). Prey includes primarily ants, beetles, bugs, butterflies, dragonflies, flies, grasshoppers, grubs, termites, and worms. They also eat earthworms, centipedes, spiders, and woodlice, and sometimes eat frogs, lizards, and small snakes. Hoopoes hunt for prey primarily on the ground in short grasses and on bare soil by walking short distances, stopping to insert its long slender bill into the ground with the hope of finding food, and then walking off in a different direction. They sometimes probe under and between bark on trees; and other times dig small holes and turn over leaf litter, dry animal droppings, and other material on the ground in search of prey. Hoopoes also make short flights in the air to catch prey. Hoopoes feed alone or in pairs during the spring and summer breeding season. At other times, they feed in small groups of other hoopoes.