Hamerkop in exhibit


Scientific Name

Scopus umbretta






Sub-saharan Africa


Wetland habitats, including shores of lakes and rivers

Estimated Wild Population

Hamerkop in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

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Physical Description

Hamerkops have monochromatic brown plumage with hints of iridescent purple. These wading birds have a darkly colored, long, flat bill that is slightly hooked at the tip. They use their sturdy bill to catch fish, frogs, rodents, and other small animals.

Interesting Fact 1

Hamerkops build relatively large nests that can support the weight of an adult human.

Interesting Fact 2

They were named for their distinctive head, which combines a thick bill in the front and a pointed wedge of feathers in the back.

Interesting Fact 3

They perform “false mounting,” where one bird stands on top of another to display dominance without engaging in copulation.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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