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Encyclopedia > Scopidae

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Scopidae
Genus: Scopus
Species: umbretta
Binomial name
Scopus umbretta
Gmelin, 1789

The Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) is a medium sized (56cm) bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is all-brown. It is related to the herons, but is usually placed in a family of its own because of its unique characteristics.

It occurs in Africa south of the Sahara, Madagascar and southwest Arabia in all wetland habitats including rice paddies. Normally it is seen alone or as a pair. The food is typical of long-legged wading birds, including fish, frogs, rodents and similar small animals.


It builds a huge haystack-like stick nest nearly 2m across in a tree fork, and lays 3 to 6 eggs. The nest is reused each year. It has a noisy call.

The Hammerkop in included in the Ciconiiformes, which also includes other wading bird groups. However, it is a family (Scopidae) and genus (Scopus) all on its own:

  Results from FactBites:
Hamerkop ( Scopus umbretta fam. Scopidae) Kruger Park Birds & Birding. (547 words)
This bird has a unique Roberts number of 81 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 603 also a picture of the Hamerkop on page 593.
The Hamerkop belongs to the family of birds classified as Scopidae.
According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Hamerkop is also known by these other names: Hammer-head Stork.
Hammerkop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (175 words)
The Hamerkop is included in the Ciconiiformes, which also includes other wading bird groups.
However, it is a family (Scopidae) and genus (Scopus) all on its own.
This page was last modified 14:47, 12 October 2005.
  More results at FactBites »



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