in our version, is used for דּוּכַיפִת (dukiphath', perhaps from דּוּך, the Arabic for cock, and כֵּיפָא, head, i.e., topknot), a word which, occurring as the name of an unclean bird only in Le 11:19 and De 14:18, affords no internal or collateral evidence to establish the propriety of the translation. It has been surmised to mean "double-crest," which is sufficiently correct when applied to the hoopoe, but less so when applied to the lapwing (Targum, Gallus montanus), or the cock of the woods, Tetrao urogallus, for which bird Bochart produces a more direct etymology; and he might have appealed to the fact that the Attagan visits Syria in winter, exclusive of at least two species of Pterocles, or sand-grouse, which probably remain all the year. But these names were anciently, as well as in modern times, so often confounded that the Greek writers even used the term Gallinacea to denote the hoopoe; for Hesychius explains ἔποψ in AEschylus by the Greek appellations of "moor-cock" and "mountain-cock" (see Bochart, s.v. Dukiphath); and in modern languages similar mistakes respecting this bird are abundant.
AEschylus speaks of the hoopoe by name, and expressly calls it the bird of the rocks (Fragm. 291, quoted by Aristotle, H.A. 9:49). Xelian (N.A. 3:26) says that these birds build their nests in lofty rocks. Aristotle's words are to the same effect, for he writes, "Now some animals are found in the mountains, as the hoopoe, for instance" (H.A. 1:1). When the two lawsuit- wearied citizens of Athens, Euelpides and Pisthetserus, in the comedy of the Birds of Aristophanes (20, 54), are on their search for the home of Epops, king of birds, their ornithological conductors lead them through a wild, desert tract terminated by mountains and rocks, in which is situated the royal aviary of Epops. The Septuagint and Vulgate agree with the Arabian interpreters in translating the Hebrew term by ἔποψ and upupa; and, as the Syrian name is kikuphah, and the Egyptian kukuphah, both apparently of the same origin as dukiphath, the propriety of substituting hoopoe for lapwing in our version appears sufficiently established. The word hoopoe is evidently onomatopoetic, being derived from the voice of the bird, which resembles the words "hoop, hoop," softly but rapidly uttered. "It utters at times a sound closely resembling the word hoop, hoop, hoop, but breathed out so softly, but rapidly, as to remind the hearer of the note of the dove" (Yarrell, Brit. Birds, 2:176). The Germans call the bird Ein Hloup, the French, La Iluppe, which is particularly appropriate, as it refers both to the crest and note of the bird. In Sweden it is known by the name of Har-Fogel, the army-bird, because, from its ominous cry, frequently heard in the wilds of the forest, while the bird itself moves off as any one approaches, the common people have supposed that seasons of scarcity and war are impending (Lloyd's Scand. Advent. 2:321).
The hoopoe is not uncommon in Palestine at this dav (Forskäl, Descr. Anim. pref. Page 7, Russel, Aleppo. 2:81; Host, Nachr. v. Marokko, page 297; compare Jerome, ad Zechariah 5:9; Bechstein, Naturgesch. 2:547), and was from remote ages a bird of mystery. Many and strange are the stories which are told of the hoopoe in ancient Oriental fable, and some of these stories are by no means to its credit. It seems to have been always regarded, both by Arabians and Greeks, with a superstitious reverence — a circumstance which it owes, no doubt, partly to its crest (Aristoph. Birds, 94; compare Ovid, Met. 6:672), which certainly gives it a most imposing appearance, partly to the length of its beak, and partly, also, to its habits. "If any one anointed himself with its blood, and then fell asleep, he would see daemons suffocating him" — "if its liver were eaten with rue, the eater's wits would be sharpened, and pleasing memories be excited" — are superstitions held respecting this bird. One more fable narrated of the hoopoe is given, because its origin can be traced to a peculiar habit of the bird. The Arabs say that the hoopoe is a betrayer of secrets; that it is able, moreover, to point out hidden wells and fountains under ground. Now the hoopoe, on settling upon the ground, has a strange and portentous-looking habit of bending the head downwards till the point of the beak touches the ground, raising and depressing its crest at the same time. Hence, with much probability, arose the Arabic fable. These stories, absurd as they are, are here mentioned because it was perhaps in a great measure owing, not only to the uncleanly habits of the bird, but also to the superstitious feeling with which the hoopoe was regarded by the Egyptians and heathen generally, that it was forbidden as food to the Israelites, whose affections Jehovah wished to wean from the land of their bondage, to which, as we know, they fondly clung. The summit of the augural rod is said to have been carved in the form of a hoopoe's head; and one of the kind is still used by Indian gosseins, and even Armenian bishops, attention being no doubt drawn to the bird by its peculiarly arranged bars upon a delicate vinous fawn color, and further embellished with a beautiful fan-shaped crest of the same color. The hoopoe is a bird of the slender-billed tribe, allied to the creepers (Certhiadae), about as large as a pigeon, but rather more slender. The general hue is a delicate reddish buff, but the back, wings, and tail are beautifully marked with broad alternate bands of black and white: the feathers of the crest, which can be raised or dropped at pleasure, are terminated by a white space tipped with black. In Egypt these birds are numerous (Sonnini, Travels, 1:204), forming probably two species, the one permanently resident about human habitations, the other migratory, and the same that visits Europe, The latter wades in the mud when the Nile has subsided, and seeks for worms and insects; and the former is known to rear its young so much immersed in the shards and fragments of beetles, etc., as to cause a disagreeable smell about its nest, which is always in holes or in hollow trees. Though an unclean bird in the Hebrew law, the common migratory hoopoe is eaten in Egypt, and sometimes also in Italy; but the stationary species is considered inedible. See Macgillivray's British Birds, 3:43; Yarrell, Brit. B. 2:178, 2d ed.; Lloyd's Scandinavian Adventures, 2:321. The chief grounds for all the filthy habits which have been ascribed to this muchmaligned bird are to be found in the fact that it resorts to dunghills, etc., in search of the worms and insects which it finds there. A writer in Ibis, 1:49, says, "We found the hoopoe a very good bird to eat." Tristram says of the hoopoe (Ibis, 1:27): "The Arabs have a superstitious reverence for this bird, which they believe to possess marvellous medicinal qualities, and call it 'the Doctor.' Its head is an indispensable ingredient in all charms, and in the practice of witchcraft." See Bochart, Hieroz. 3:107 sq.; Rosenmuller, Alterth. IV, 2:326; Oedmann, Samml. 5:66 sq.; Sommer, Bibl. Abhandl. 1:254 sq.; Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v. Upupidae: Wood, Bible Animals, page 392.
Dr. Thomson, however, dissents from the common view above that the Hebrew dukiphath is the ordinary hed-hood or hoopoe, on the ground that the latter "is a small bird, good to eat, comparatively rare, and therefore not likely to have been mentioned at all by Moses, and still less to have been classed with the unclean." He proposes the English pewit, called by the natives now and bu-teet. "The bird appears in Palestine only in the depth of winter. It then disperses over the mountains, and remains until early spring, when it entirely disappears. It roosts on the ground wherever night overtakes it. It utters a loud scream when about to fly, which sounds like the last of the above names. It is regarded as an unclean bird by the Arabs. The upper part of the body and wings are of a dull slate-color, the under parts of both are white. It has a topknot on the hinder part of the head pointing backward like a horn, and when running about on the ground it closely resembles a young hare" (Land and Book, 1:104).