Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta)

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The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) is a medium-sized wading bird (56 cm long, weighing 470 g). The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. It ranges from Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, in wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, lakesides, fish pond, riverbanks and rocky coasts. The strangest aspect of Hamerkop behavior is the huge nest, sometimes more than 1.5 m across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man’s weight. They decorate the outside with any bright-coloured objects they can find. These birds are compulsive nest builders, constructing 3 to 5 nests per year whether they are breeding or not. Barn Owls and eagle owls may force them out and take over the nests, but when the owls leave, the Hammerkops may reuse the nests.
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa

Nikon D200, Nikkor 80-400 mm at 400 mm, 1/500 sec at f/ 5.6, ISO 200
© Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos Photography. All Rights Reserved.


Featured in the group “Animals of Africa”

Views 430 / Favorited by 5 people / April 12, 2013

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