I filmed this Hamerkop on my way home on the outskirts of East London (South Africa).
It was crossing the road of the small causeway which provides a nice location for nature and wildlife very close to town.
Here’s the HD Video:
How to Identify a Hamerkop
The Hamerkop (English translation is “Hammer Head”) is a medium-sized, dusky brown-coloured bird with a unmistakable head shape. This characteristic is what makes it so easy to identify.
It often gets mistaken for a Heron, or a raptor when in flight. It has long, black legs.
It usually lives near water so it can hunt for small fish, tadpoles, insects, shrimp and other invertebrates.
Here’s a video of a Hamerkop hunting in a river, searching for a meal, but at the same time having to avoid the hungry crocodile!
In flight single birds utter a plain ‘keep’, followed at intervals of a few seconds by other individual notes. They make a loud and discordant yip-purr chorus in social displays away from the nesting site.
It make a very big nest; a huge dome-shaped one using sticks. The nest has a small side entrance.
South African birder, Heidi Wilson, mentions the following:
“Lots of superstition that surrounds the Hamerkop, especially in Northern South Africa and neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe. The Hammerkop is associated with an omen of death, and regarded with fear and trepidation, if it flies over you.”
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