Hamerkop in exhibit

Hamerkop

Scientific Name

Scopus umbretta

Class

Aves

Order

Ciconiiformes

Range

Sub-saharan Africa

Habitat

Wetland habitats, including shores of lakes and rivers

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Hamerkop in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - 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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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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