HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)
The Hamerkop is in a category by itself, within the same order as the Pelicans. It has a brown plumage with a large crest at the back of the head. This crest, along with the bird’s long bill, gives it its name due to its similarity to a hammer. Hamerkops are around 50 cm (20 in.) high.
This wading bird is found in Africa south of the Sahara in various types of wetlands, where it feeds mainly on fish. It nests in trees, and their nests include all kinds of materials, even waste. They are also known for building several nests even if they only use one.
The Latin name ‘scopus’ is actually from ancient Greek and means ‘to look at’ (as in telescope), and ‘umbretta’ refers to ‘shadow’ (because of the bird’s dark plumage).