Appearance There are 2 species of Scimitarbill and 3 species of Wood-hoopoe that are regularly found in Kenya. They are not related to the Hoopoe. The Scimitarbill & Wood-hoopoe family are slimline birds, with long, slim, decurved bills. They have long tails, round wings and short legs. Plumages are all iridescent; largely blues, blacks, greens and purples. Sexes are similarly coloured and marked.
Habits This family are very agile birds, living an orboreal existence. They climb trees, clinging to boughs with sharp claws, balancing with their tails, which always look worn. They then investigate branches for food, often hanging upside-down. Having worked their way to the top of a tree, they fly off, gliding mostly, to the bottom of the next tree.
Diet Both Scimitarbills & Wood-hoopoes eat insects, living beneath the bark they prod, or prise from trees. They also eat on the ground, particularly when termites are hatching.
Resident Scimitarbills & Wood-hoopoes live in lower rainfall areas of Kenya, in dry savanna and woodlands, largely Acacia. Some, like the Abyssinian Scimitarbill are widespread, others in 'pockets' of the country.
Extra Scimitarbill & Wood-hoopoe Facts Scimitarbills are generally seen in pairs, while Wood-hoopoes are seen in noisy family groups of up to 8 individuals. The groups consist of the breeding pair, siblings and young offspring. The siblings and offspring assist in feeding the breeding female and her chicks.
Photographs Photographed at Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.