Scientifically referred to as Scopus Umbretta, the Hamerkop is a bird of medium size stretching to 56cm in length and 470g in weight and among the popular birds explored by birders on Safaris in Uganda.
The shape of the Hamerkop’s head features hammer-like crest at the back along with a long bill as viewed on Uganda birding safaris.
This shape of the head forms the back ground for its naming. The
Hamerkop features a drab brown plumage with purple iridescence at its
back. The neck and the legs are short while the wings are big wide
spread featuring a round tip.
The Hamerkop thrives in areas of Arabia, Madagascar and various parts of Africa including Uganda where it is explored on Uganda tours. Their habitats are wetlands and other waterlogged areas.
builds huge nest at times stretching to 1.5m with over 10,000 sticks
and surprisingly strong enough to contain man’s weight. They use
bright-colored objects to decorate the exterior of the nest. Hamerkops
build nests whether they intend to breed or not.
A range of 3 – 4
eggs are always laid and incubation lasts about 28 – 30 days by both
sexes. They young develop plumage at about 17 days and eventually leave
the nest at 44 – 50 days but keep roosting in it at night up to about
two (2) months.
Hamerkops undertake the feeding during the day and
they tend to take a break at noon. Feeding is done on lone basis and in
pairs as well. Their diet includes long-legged wading birds along with
amphibians. Others include; fish, rodents and insects.
Conservation, the Hamerkops are listed as species of Least Concern on
the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The birders on Uganda Safari tours
can explore this amazing bird species across various protected areas
including Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National