The Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a medium-sized bird: it is 25–32 cm (9.8–12.6 in) long, with a 44–48 cm (17–19 in) wingspan, and weighs 46–89 g (1.6–3.1 oz). The species is highly distinctive, with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base, and broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight. In what was long thought to be a defensive posture, hoopoes sunbathe by spreading out them, and their tail, low against the ground and tilting their head up.
The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which may give rise to its English and scientific names. An alternative explanation is that the names are derived from the French name for the bird, huppée, which means crested.
Hoopoes were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt and depicted on the walls of tombs and temples.