Hamerkop Facts

Hamerkop Facts
Hamerkop is wading bird that belongs to the hamerkop family. There are two subspecies of hamerkops that can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, on Madagascar and southwestern parts of Arabia. Harmerkop inhabits areas near the rivers, lakes and estuaries, well-watered savannas, forests and semi-deserts. Pollution of the water with pesticides represents the major threat for the survival of hamerkops in the wild. Despite accelerated development of agriculture and uncontrolled usage of pesticides, hamerkops are still numerous and widespread in the wild.
Interesting Hamerkop Facts:
Hamerkop can reach 22 inches in length and 17 ounces of weight.
Hamerkop has brown body with purple iridescent plumage on the back.
Hamerkop has large, slightly hooked, black-colored bill, short neck and legs, partially webbed feet, large, rounded wings and short tail.
Crest on the back of the head and hooked bill create impression of a hammer, hence the name "hamerkop" ("hammer-head" in Afrikaans).
Hamerkop is diurnal bird (active during the day).
Hamerkop hunts and eats fish, insects, worms, shrimps, rodents, tadpoles and frogs.
Hamerkop walks through the shallow water and stirs mud with its feet to reveal hidden prey. It can also collect the prey from the air.
Hamerkop is sedentary (non-migratory), gregarious bird which produces shrills and cackles during the flight.
Hamerkop occasionally gathers in group of 10 birds which run in circles around each other with erect crests and produce loud calls while fluttering their wings.
Hamerkops nest solitary or in small groups. Mating season takes place all year round in Eastern Africa, or seasonally, in other parts of their range.
Hamerkops are best known by their huge, bulky nests made of mud and around 10.000 sticks. Nest can reach 4 to 8 feet in diameter and it can be easily detected from a distance of few miles. It has walls, domed roof and tunnel-shaped entrance which leads to the large central chamber. Outer part of the nest is decorated with brightly-colored objects. Nest is strong enough to support the weight of adult man.
Hamerkops construct 3 to 5 nests (even outside the breeding season) tucked in between forked branches on the isolated trees. Both males and females participate in the construction of the nest, which usually lasts 3 to 6 weeks.
Hamerkops re-use their nests each year. Barn owls and eagle owls can force hamerkops out of their nests, while genets, snakes, Egyptian gees and comb ducks use abandoned hamerkops' nests.
Female lays 3 to 7 eggs which hatch after 28 to 30 days. Both parents participate in the incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks. Young birds are ready to leave the nest for the first time at the age of 44 to 50 days.
Hamerkop can survive around 20 years in the wild.

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