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The Hoopoe – Selim Hill Tea Estate’s Israel Connection

The Hoopoe – Selim Hill Tea Estate’s Israel Connection

Visitors of Israel in India seem to be engaged in a football match of their own. The controversy at hand seems immature and quite unnecessary. Interestingly, Selim Hill Tea Estate has its very own representative from Israel. It is the mohunchura or the Hoopoe Bird which is the national bird of Israel. According to Jewish tradition, this wise bird led King Solomon to meet the Queen of Sheba.

The bird’s name is an onomatopoeia which is based on its resonant hoop-hoop-hoop call. It looks like a miniature version of the Royal Bengal Tiger with its orange and black striped body. It has carved out the perfect survival strategy. Humans do not kill it to eat as the bird is considered unclean. 

The bird is known as ‘duchifat’ in Hebrew and has a reputation for both its beauty… and its skunk-like stench. I am in awe of this bird. The dichotomy of its beauty versus its ugly stench is a reminder once again that life is not just good or bad. In fact, it is a combination of both. In this case, not just black or white, but with shades of orange. After all, every hero has a bit of villain in him and vice versa.

The Chinese name for this bird is dài-shèng, which literally means 'wear headdress'. Maybe it is because the hoopoe’s crest opens out like a Chinese fan whenever it senses danger or is excited. Often considered a symbol or harbinger of war, the hoopoe does not really care. All that it is interested in, is its own security and the safety of its family.

Birds recognise no man-made borders. The hoopoe is seen in many countries and is also known to migrate in case it becomes very cold. This monogamous bird is not social and is generally seen alone or with its partner. Not one to follow the crowd, it keeps its circle small. It uses subterfuge and plays on the instinctive dislike of its predators to protect itself using poop to line its nest. This bird sure has attitude!

The little hoopoe bird has always fascinated human beings. Stories about the hoopoe have turned into myths and legends. Interwoven into these threads are the hoopoe’s occult and mystical powers that span Afro-Eurasian thought and culture. A lover of the sun, it is a symbol of grit and tenacity.

Thanks to a combination of its amazing adaptability, defensive ability and skills, this bird has proven to be a true survivor, much like the nation it represents.

The Hoopoe is often symbolised as a messenger. The message could be good or bad but a good messenger brings together two sets of people because of the way in which the message is delivered. The wise ambassador tells the Dorje Team to continue on the rocky path, joyous streams are just around the next corner.

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