BIRDWATCHERS in Dorset have been twitching with excitement after a rare bird was found at a burial ground.

A hoopoe bird – pronounced hu-pu – was spotted at the Higher Ground Meadow Burial Ground in Corscombe earlier this week.

The species of bird, which is more commonly found in warmer climates in Africa and Mediterranean countries such as Spain, was discovered earlier this week. It is believed the bird may have got lost when it was flying north towards its natural habitat for the breeding season.

The species is highly distinctive due to its long, thin tapering black bill plus its crown of feathers.

Jo Vassie, one of the managers at the Higher Ground Meadow burial ground in Corscombe, managed to get a picture of it on Thursday.

She said: “We spotted it first on the burial ground and we have seen it here for a few days.

“I have never seen one before. I did some research and found that they do occasionally come into this country but not in great numbers.”

Mrs Vassie urged people who want to visit the grounds to see the bird to be considerate as there may be funerals and burials taking place.

Luke Phillips, information officer at the RSPB Radipole Lake Nature Reserve, pictured, confirmed the bird was a hoopoe.

Mr Phillips said: “Hoopoes are definitely quite rare in the area, they originate from Mediterranean countries.

“What sometimes happens is that when the birds are migrating northwards to their breeding grounds they overshoot and go too far.

“If you live in France or Spain, they are quite common, almost like a garden bird.

“They are named after the sound they make when they are singing and calling.”