Hoopoe starling lived on the Mascarene island of Réunion and became extinct in the 1850s. Its plumage was primarily white and grey, with its back, wings and tail a darker brown and grey. It had a light, mobile crest, which curled forwards, and was sexually dimorphic, with males larger and having more curved beaks. The birds were hunted by settlers on Réunion, who also kept them as pets.
About Hoopoe starling in brief
Hoopoe starling lived on the Mascarene island of Réunion and became extinct in the 1850s. Its closest relatives were the also-extinct Rodrigues starling and Mauritius starling from nearby islands, and the three apparently originated in south-east Asia. The bird was first mentioned during the 17th century and was long thought to be related to the hoopoe, from which its name is derived. Some affinities have been proposed, but it was confirmed as a starling in a DNA study. Its plumage was primarily white and grey, with its back, wings and tail a darker brown and grey. It had a light, mobile crest, which curled forwards, and was sexually dimorphic, with males larger and having more curved beaks. The birds were hunted by settlers on Réunion, who also kept them as pets. Nineteen specimens exist in museums around the world, with one specimen having an artificially trimmed crest resulting in a semi-circular shape in life, unlike its appearance in life. The species was first scientifically described by Philippe Guéneau de Montbeillard in the 1779 edition of Comte de Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle, and received its scientific name from Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert for the book’s 1783 edition. It was reported to be in decline by the early 19th Century and was probably extinct before the 1860s. Several factors have been.
proposed, including competition and predation by introduced species, disease, deforestation, and persecution by humans, who hunted it for food and as an alleged crop pest. Some authors also allied the bird groups with such as birds-of-paradise, Icteridae, and choughs, cow-eaters, ICTERs, and Choughs upa cristata, resulting in its reassignment to other genera with new names, such as Coracia cracia and Pastoracia upa, and upa Pastorata upa 1831, 1831 and upupa pastorata 1831. It is thought that the bird was a subspecies of Upupa varia, and its specific name means ‘variegated’, describing its black-and-white colour. It lived in large flocks, inhabited humid areas and marshes and was omnivorous, feeding on plant matter and insects. Early settlers on Réunion referred to the bird as ‘huppe’ due to the similarity of its crest and curved bill with that of the hoopoes, which are a little larger than the young pigeons. The hoopoe was 30 cm in length and lived in marshes, with the juveniles more brown than the adults. Its pelvis was robust, its feet and claws large and its jaws strong, indicating that it foraged near the ground. It also had a similarly shaped crest which led early writers to believe that variants of the bird were found on the Cape of Africa and Madagascar.