Bible Animals: Hoopoe Hoopoe in the ancient World.
Ancient Hoopoe. THE Hoopoe is a beautiful bird, chiefly distinguished for the double range of long, erectile feathers on the head, which form a splendid crest. The European Hoopoe is of a rufous-chestnut color, varied with black and white ; it searches for insects in the moist ground, nestles in the holes of trees or walls, and migrates south in winter. - Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible
Hoopoe in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
hoo'-po; -poo (dukhiphath; epops; Latin Upupa epops): One of
the peculiar and famous birds of Israel, having a curved
bill and beautiful plumage. It is about the size of a
thrush. Its back is a rich cinnamon color, its head golden
buff with a crest of feathers of gold, banded with white and
tipped with black, that gradually lengthen as they cover the
head until, when folded, they lie in lines of black and
white, and, when erect, each feather shows its exquisite
marking. Its wings and tail are black banded with white and
buff. It nests in holes and hollow trees. All ornithologists
agree that it is a "nasty, filthy bird" in its feeding and
breeding habits. The nest, being paid no attention by the
elders, soon becomes soiled and evil smelling. The bird is
mentioned only in the lists of abomination (Lev 11:19; and
Dt 14:18). One reason why Moses thought it unfit for food
was on account of its habits. Quite as strong a one lay in
the fact that it was one of the sacred birds of Egypt. There
the belief was prevalent that it could detect water and
indicate where to dig a well; that it could hear secrets and
cure diseases. Its head was a part of the charms used by
witches. The hoopoe was believed to have wonderful medicinal
powers and was called the "Doctor Bird" by the arabs.
Because it is almost the size of a hoopoe and somewhat
suggestive of it in its golden plumage, the lapwing was used
in the early translations of the Bible instead of hoopoe.
But when it was remembered that the lapwing is a plover, its
flesh and eggs especially dainty food, that it was eaten
everywhere it was known, modern commentators rightly decided
that the hoopoe was the bird intended by the Mosaic law. It
must be put on record, however, that where no superstition
attaches to the hoopoe and where its nesting habits are
unknown and its feeding propensities little understood, as
it passes in migration it is killed, eaten and considered
delicious, especially by residents of Southern Europe.
Houp in Wikipedia
Houp (Leviticus 11:19; Deuteronomy 14:18). — The analogy of the Hebrew with the Syriac and Coptic for the name of this bird makes the identification doubtless, although some, after the example of the A.V., see in the Hebrew dûkhîpháth, the lapwing. The Egyptians worshipped the houp and made it the emblem of Horus.