‘Hoopoe’ haven at Taiping Lake Gadrens

Avian attraction: A hoopoe photographed mid-flight at the Taiping Lake Gardens. — Bernama

IPOH: For over 130 years, Taiping Lake Gardens has been a magnet not only for people but also for migratory birds.

In 2021, the gardens added another feather in its cap when it became a nesting ground for the iconic hoopoe, a colourful bird known for its distinct crown of feathers that is famous in the myths of many regions.

A Perak wildlife expert told Bernama that the hoopoe or “hudhud” in Arabic, chose the lake gardens due to abundant food, optimal temperature and humidity.Taiping Zoo and Night Safari’s Dr Muhamad Ridhwan Affendi cited research by the Taiping Municipal Council and the Nature Ecosystem Sustainability Organisation (NEST).

He said a pair of rare hoopoes (scientific name Upupa epops) was first discovered at the lake garden where they made a nest and laid eggs.

“In May 2021, three hoopoe chicks hatched in a hole-nest in a Jemerlang tree, just 40 days after the pair were seen building a nest in that tree on April 5.

“Until now, this bird species can still be found in the surrounding area, and the farthest it has been seen is around Kamunting.

“The hoopoe is easily recognisable due to its bright colours and stripes,” Muhammad Ridhwan said.

These birds are native to Europe, Asia, the Northern Sahara and Africa.

Muhamad Ridhwan said other migratory birds found in the Taiping Lake Gardens are the black-capped kingfisher, stork-billed kingfisher, rufous-backed kingfisher, white-bellied sea eagle, black baza, oriental honey buzzard, Japanese sparrowhawk, Chinese sparrowhawk, Javan pond heron, grey heron and the hooded pitta.

The presence of these diverse bird species led to the organisation of Taiping Bird Week in 2017, which has since become an annual event.

This year’s edition, supported by Tourism Perak, Olympus, and Fujifilm, drew 154 participants and aimed to establish Taiping as a hub for avitourism.

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