In the killer cyclone 'HudHud' that devastated Visakhapatnam, the irony is that a large number of 'HudHud' birds have also perished. For ornithologists, bird watchers and wildlife lovers, this has become a cause of concern.
Cyclone 'HudHud' was named so after the 'HudHud' bird, a name that was contributed by Oman as a matter of procedure. However, 'HudHud' turned out to be a killer of the very birds that the cyclone was named after.
While the bird is called 'HudHud' in Arabic, in English it is known as the Hoopoe. The scientific name of the bird is Upupu epops. The 31 cm in length bird is listed among the 484 bird species known in Andhra Pradesh.
Locally, in Telugu, the bird is called 'Konda pitta' and 'Kukudu guwa'. It is also common sighted in Icrisat in Hyderabad, Srisailam and many places.
The bird that sings hoo-po hoo-po-po softly has borne the brunt of the cyclone in Visakhapatnam and that means it is a great loss to agriculture. A description of the bird reads that it is found in lightly wooded areas, plains, hills, lawns, gardens, groves, around villages and towns. "The bird walks and runs like a quail. It probes into soil with bill for insects. It's crest is folded and open like a fan. And it is beneficial to agriculture."
'HudHud' can be identified with its fawn colored, black and white zebra markings on back, wings and tail. It has a fan shaped crest, long, slender, gently curved bird.
"You will find it most of the time on the ground," a bird watcher said.
"Hoopoe is found all over India, including in Andhra Pradesh. It is quite common even in Visakhapatnam. Hoopoe is a small ground dwelling bird which feeds on insects and foraging on the ground. The intensity of the cyclone sure has resulted in a lot of the birds perishing. That is a cause of concern," said Farida Tampal, Andhra Pradesh state director of WWF.
With practically all the trees getting uprooted in Visakhapatnam as a result of 'HudHud' on October 12, the Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) has pointed out that at least 15 species of birds which have their nesting on tall trees also perished. These include the common egrets, cormorants, the painted storks, and pelicans. In fact, there is also concern about the large number of birds in the famous bird sanctuary at Telineelapuram in Srikakulam. "It is a community reserve where the villages themselves protect the birds. We are trying to find out how much damage the cyclone has caused there," Farida Tampal said.
With a large number of 'HudHud' or Hoopoe birds have been killed in Visakhapatnam because of the cyclone, bird watchers are saddened at the 'beautiful bird with a crown' had to perish.