Birdwatchers flock to Warwick to catch sight of rare hoopoe bird feeding in the town

The species is normally seen across Africa, Asia and Southern Europe

Birdwatchers lining up with their cameras to get a shot of the hoopoe. Photo by Rick Thompson

Birdwatchers have been travelling to Warwick this week to see a rare bird that has been spotted in town.

They travelled to see a hoopoe that has been feeding on the lawn outside the IBM building on the Warwick Technology Park.

The bird has a long curved bill, a prominent crest and black and white wings, and is pronounced 'hoopoo' after its call.

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The hoopoe. Photo by Lizzy Bradbury

Local wildlife writer, Rick Thompson, said: “It's a brilliant bird to find in Warwick.

"The hoopoe can be seen across Africa, Asia and Southern Europe, but they are rare in Britain.

"At this time of year the European birds are moving south for the winter. This individual managed to confuse its north and south.

"A few appear along our south coast each autumn, but to find one this far inland is very unusual. This bird seems very much at home and is relatively approachable.”

The hoopoe. Photo by Lizzy Bradbury

The hoopoe was spotted through a window by a member of IBM staff on Monday.

She realised it was something different and exotic, and alerted a local birdwatcher, who in turn logged it on social media, including the 'Warwick 100' WhatsApp group.

Lizzy Bradbury, a member of the group, said: “I dropped everything and was there in minutes with my camera.

"The hoopoe was busy on the grass pulling out large white grubs, probably the pupae of cockchafers.

"Launched by a group of ornithological friends in 2017, 'Warwick 100' is an annual challenge to see if we can identify 100 bird species within two miles of St. Mary's Church tower in the year.

"The wonderful Hoopoe is number 115 for 2021. You can see how many bird species we've identified this year on our blog: warwickbirding.blogspot.com

"Our best year so far was 2020, with a total of 116 different species seen (or heard, in the case of cuckoos). Some real rarities have turned up.

"As well as the hoopoe this week, other highlights have been osprey, great white egret, manx shearwater and bewick's swan.

"Not bad for the centre of Warwick. We are working hard to try to beat our best this year.”