“And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination”… “the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:13,19, NKJV)
The hoopoe is one of the most peculiar and famous birds living in Palestine. This bird has a large curved bill and a very beautiful plumage. The hoopoe is about the size of a thrush. The hoopoe’s back is a rich cinnamon color and its head is a golden buff crested with gold feathers. The head is banded in white feathers with black tips that gradually lengthen as the feathers cover the head. The bird’s wings and tail are black banded with white and buff trim.
The hoopoe lives in holes and hollow trees. Ornithologists all agree that this is a very nasty and filthy bird in both its feeding and breeding habits. Apparently the hoopoe never cleans their nests and they nests become soiled, dirty, and foul smelling. This could be the reason the hoopoe was included in the list of abominable birds which could not be eaten by the Hebrews.