The Hamerkop Has It’s Own Family

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) by Africaddict

“And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:22-23 NKJV)

What an interesting name for a bird. He is not a policeman (cop), but its head does, sort of, look like a hammer. Don’t you agree?

Goodly Hammer ©Flickr Lenore Edman

Hamerkops are in a family by itself, because the birding authorities are not sure which family to add it to. So, they made a family, called the Scopidae Family.

“The single Hamerkop in this family lives in sub-Saharan Africa and has unique habits and behaviorIt has a few features like those of heronsIt has an odd mix of other habits which are similar to the shoebill, flamingos, and storksIt has ectoparasites that are otherwise found only in ploversGiven this, its origin and relationship to other birds are considered unclear (Roberson 2012), so it is considered here to belong to its own kind.” By Dr. Jean Lightner (See below)

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) at NA by Dan

It is found in Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, living in a wide variety of wetlands, including estuaries, lakesides, fish ponds, riverbanks and rocky coasts.

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) With Nesting Material ©WikiC

The strangest aspect of hamerkop behaviour is the huge nest, sometimes more than 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) across, and strong enough to support a man’s weight. When possible, it is built in the fork of a tree, often over water, but if necessary it is built on a bank, a cliff, a human-built wall or dam, or on the ground. A pair starts by making a platform of sticks held together with mud, then builds walls and a domed roof. A mud-plastered entrance 13–18 centimetres (5.1–7.1 in) wide in the bottom leads through a tunnel up to 60 centimetres (24 in) long to a nesting chamber big enough for the parents and young.

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) Nest in Acacia Tree ©WikiC

Nests have been recorded to take between 10 and 14 weeks to build, and one researcher estimated that they would require around 8000 sticks or bunches of grass to complete. Nesting material may still be added by the pair after the nest has been completed and eggs have been laid. Much of the nesting material added after completion is not sticks but an odd collection of random items including bones, hide and human waste.

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) by Africaddict

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) by Africaddict

This is just another one of The Lord’s Avian Wonders. Just thought you might enjoy reading about this neat bird.

*

Hamerkop’s Scopidae Family

Pelecaniformes Order

Birdwatching the National Aviary – Tropical Forest

An Initial Estimate of Avian Ark Kinds by Dr. Jean Lightner on November 27, 2013

Wordless Toucan

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