The woodhoopoes are related to the kingfishers, rollers and Hoopoe. They most resemble the latter species with their long curved bills, used for probing for insects, and short rounded wings.
However, they differ in that they have metallic plumage, often blue, green or purple, and lack an erectile crest. They are more gregarious than the Hoopoe, and can often be seen in small groups.
These are birds of open African woodland, mainly arboreal in their habits. They are hole-nesters, laying two or three eggs.
There are seven species in two genera:
- Green Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus purpureus
- Violet Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus damarensis
- Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus somaliensis
- White-headed Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus bollei
- Forest Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus castaneiceps
- Black Scimitar-bill, Rhinopomastus aterrimus
- Common Scimitar-bill, Rhinopomastus cyanomelas
- Abyssinian Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus minor