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Scopus umbretta

PZ Hammerkop 03 22 LR 4
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Scopidae

Hamerkops live in a variety of habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, including wetlands, forests and savannah.

They are carnivores, with a diet mostly consisting of amphibians and fish, which they forage for in shallow water.

Interesting facts!

  • Unsurprisingly, hamerkops are named after their unique head shape that resembles a hammer.
  • If you can see what looks like a large compost heap in a tree, it means that hamerkop are nesting. Male and female hamerkop work together to collect mud and sticks to build nests that can measure more than 1.5m across.
  • Female hamerkops lay 3 to 7 eggs in a central chamber of their large nest, that both the male and female incubate. The young fledge at around 44 to 50 days old.


Hamerkops have a relatively stable population and are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The species is thought to avoid most persecution as they are the source of legend throughout folklore, however they have been known to be hunted and traded for traditional medicine.