Hoothoot is an avian Pokémon that resembles an owl with a round body. Most of its feathers are brown, but its belly is cream-colored. It has large, red eyes, a small, pinkish beak, stubby wings, and a fan-like tail with three feathers. Encircling its eyes are black rings; the lower rims of the ring have three protrusions that resemble the teeth on a gear while the upper rims have extensions that resemble the hands of a clock. It has two pinkish feet, each with five clawed toes. However, it will typically only stand on one foot at a time and alternates between the two at speeds too difficult to track with the naked eye.
Hoothoot begins crying at exactly the same time every day and always tilts its head in the same rhythm. This ability is due to a special organ that senses the Earth's rotation and allows it to keep track of time. As a result, Hoothoot was considered a divine messenger of time and raised to serve as clocks a long time ago. Some Trainers still use it as a clock today. Hoothoot is most commonly found nesting in forest trees.
A Hoothoot appeared in A Staravia is Born!, where it teamed up with Ash's Starly to hypnotize Meowth into helping the other Flying-type Pokémon escape. It was later seen flying away with the other Flying-type Pokémon, waving goodbye to Ash's newly-evolved Staravia in the process.
Hoothoot debuted in The Legend. Two were seen hanging under some tree branches when Green had finished her message to Silver in Johto.
In Murkrow Row, a Hoothoot is seen flying at night while Gold was playing cue balls in his room. It was later seen again when Gold asks Joey if he recorded the DJ Mary's song.
Hoothoot was used by a trickster in Who Gives a Hoothoot?. He claimed to use Hoothoot as an accurate timekeeper to regulate a prize-winning game he was hosting, when in fact he was prompting Hoothoot to declare the time limit whenever a participant was on the verge of winning, thus preventing anyone from winning his game. He was busted however, by Gold and his Aipom. The same man and his Hoothoot are seen in Really Raikou & Entirely Entei I and The Last Battle XIII.
Two Hoothoot were seen at night near the forest Gold was sleeping in, in Gilgar Glide.
In Nintendo Power Vol. 134, Ken Sugimori stated in an interview that Hoothoot is his favorite Pokémon because he had a pet bird as a child that would stand on one foot.
Hoothoot has a unique fade-in animation that is programmed into Pokémon Gold and Silver but goes unused.
Hoothoot seems to be based on a combination of an owl—more specifically the Eagle Owl—and a clock, as its crest's prongs are shaped like the hands of a clock; in addition, it has the ability to keep track of time.
Hoothoot is derived from hoot, an onomatopoeia for the sound an owl makes. It may also be a combination of hoot and cuckoo, as in a Cuckoo clock, referring to Hoothoot's keen ability to keep track of time.
Hoho is derived from hoo, another onomatopoeia for the sound an owl makes.