Physical Characteristics

Woodhoopoes (WOOD-huu-puuz) are small- to medium-sized birds. Some species have a long, slender decurved, slightly bent, bill; others have straight bills; and still others have greatly down-curved bills. They have plumage, feathers, that is mainly black with glossy green or purple undertones; and have broad, rounded wings and a long, graduated, divided in steps of different lengths, tail. Some species have a white or brown head. Most species have patches, either bars or spots, of white across the wing and on the tips of the tail feathers. Woodhoopoes have long toes, short legs, and strong, thick hooked claws. They have dark brown irises, colored part, within their eyes. Females usually have shorter bills and tails than males, and young birds are duller in color than adults. Juveniles of all species have bills and feet that are black. In three species, the bill turns orange-red as they mature, as do the feet in two species. Adults are 8 to 15 inches (20 to 38 centimeters) long and weigh between 0.6 and 3.5 ounces (18 and 99 grams).

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