Upupa Epops is a hip bar in Athens named after the scientific name of the hoopoe (or «τσαλαπετεινός», as you’ll find it in the Greek language). Until just recently, I thought that going to that bar was the only way to do something vaguely hoopoe-related in Athens. But then, everything changed!
One day, as I was having my run in the Alsos Neas Smyrnis, I saw black and white tail feathers under a pine tree. I approached it carefully, but a big crest fanned out as the scared, smaller-than-a-pigeon bird fluttered into the trees. It was a hoopoe! This species of birds is definitely not something you’d expect to find in an urban park, and I was ecstatic to find this little piece of wild Greek fauna in the middle of the city.
After I first saw this single hoopoe, I kept seeing one or more each time I’d go back. Once I counted a whole family (?) of five convening a meeting inside a tree. I’ve been seeing them so often and around the same spot, I decided to write about them.
Come to this specific spot during daytime, or perhaps better in the morning or an hour or two before sunset, pay careful attention, and you might be able to see them in a radius of 10-20m around the pointer! Hoepoes are considered timid, but these ones seem to be somewhat used to the presence of people.
Catch them between May – October, when they’re in Greece. Happy urban birdwatching!