Image of the Month July 2023: Greater Hoopoe-Lark

Photographer: Clayton Burne   Destination: Morocco


The Greater Hoopoe-Lark is a fascinating, well adapted desert species, that thrives in the high temperature, arid environments from the Sahara Desert to Eastern Arabia. This species’ long legs help to keep its slender body away from the hot sand. This, in combination with the interesting behavioural adaptation of heading underground in the heat of the day have meant that the Greater Hoopoe-Lark can withstand the harsh conditions of its habitat. They are even known to use the burrow of the Moroccan Spiny-tailed Lizard as a refuge to escape the high midday temperatures.


Another survival trick the Greater Hoopoe-Lark uses is an excellent distraction display. A potential predator is lured away from the nest by the illusion of an injured wing. Once the predator is a suitable distance away from the nest, the bird recovers as if by magic, and retreats back to the nest.


From a plumage perspective this species keeps perhaps its best feature hidden until it spreads its wings, in flight, a magnificent white-and-black pattern is exposed and makes for a stunning contrast to its usual sandy-toned appearance.


Morocco and Tunisia are both exceptional destinations in which to find the Greater Hoopoe-Lark, both offer a wide variety of exciting bird species, including many Atlas Mountain endemics as well as country specials like the spectacular and Endangered Northern Bald Ibis, the beautiful Moussier’s Redstart, Tristram’s Warbler, Barbary Partridge, Levaillant’s Woodpecker, Fulvous Babbler, Egyptian Nightjar, African Blue Tit and African Crimson-winged Finch.


In addition to the awesome bird species, Morocco and Tunisia offer a variety of other attractions, including stunning scenery, ancient ruins, vibrant cultures, and delicious cuisine.


With comfortable accommodations, great food, friendly people, impressive antiquities and abundant birds, time spent in both Morocco and Tunisia could not be more pleasurable!