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The Hoopoe

The gorgeous tray at the bottom of this page depicting a Hoopoe in a Coral tree was painted by Punch Shabalala, the senior artist at Ardmore. The beautiful flowers were modeled in high relief by Octavia Mazibuko. The Hoopoe is widely distributed in South Africa and is generally observed singly or with a mate, darting around collecting insects. The name of the bird was derived from its oop, oop, oop mating call.

In ancient Egypt, the Hoopoe was considered sacred and they were depicted on the walls of tombs and temples. In Greek literature, it was regarded as the ruler of the avian kingdom with its distinctive black and white plumage and striking crown crest. The Hoopoe was chosen as the national bird of Israel in 2008 during the 60th anniversary of the country after a poll of 155,000 citizens.

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