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.
Hamerkop 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.
Regarding 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 Parks.