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Safari Africa Animal Fact Sheet
Scopus umbretta

Africa south of the Sahara, Madagascar and southwest Arabia.

The hammerkop, also known as the hammerhead (Dutch translation), hammerhead stork, or anvilhead, is a medium-sized 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 a drab brown all over.

The hammerkop builds a huge haystack-like stick nest nearly 2 m across in a tree fork, and lays 3 to 6 eggs. The nest is reused each year, getting larger and larger as the hammerkop renovates it. The entrance to the nest remains at the bottom, to deter potential predators.

Habitat: Wetland areas.
Diet: Fish, frogs, rodents and similar small animals.
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: : 20 inches

Lifespan: n/a
Reproduction & Offspring: Lay 3-6, whitish eggs that are incubated for 30 days.


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