The hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), also known as hammerkop, hammerkopf, hammerhead, hammerhead stork, umbrette, umber bird, tufted umber, or anvilhead.
With all those names one almost feels that social media bullying is on the go here…. but this bird which occurs in Africa south of the Sahara, Madagascar and coastal south-west Arabia in all wetland habitats, including irrigated land such as rice paddies, as well as in savannahs and forests.
The hamerkop’s behaviour is unlike other birds. One unusual feature is that up to ten birds join in "ceremonies" in which they run circles around each other, all calling loudly, raising their crests, fluttering their wings. Another is "false mounting", in which one bird stands on top of another and appears to mount it, but they may not be mates and do not copulate.
There are many legends about the hamerkop. In some regions, people state that other birds help it build its nest. The ǀXam informants of Wilhelm Bleek said that when a hamerkop flew and called over their camp, they knew that someone close to them had died.
It is known in some cultures as the lightning bird, and the Kalahari Bushmen believe or believed that being hit by lightning resulted from trying to rob a hamerkop’s nest. They also believe that the inimical god Khauna would not like anyone to kill a hamerkop. According to an old Malagasy belief, anyone who destroys its nest will get leprosy
They way it watched me I wondered if there was a curse that it could place on me……
At my age a curse could be a blessing in disguise ….
Interesting info and great shots, thanks for sharing these with us!!!
I love the look of this bird! It is so unique and I love the stories that surround his habits! My favorite name is “anvilhead.” I think that name really fits. This is a great bird!
I would dare a staring contest with it 🙂
Interesting looking bird Rob, which is another new one on me. Your photos show it off very nicely.
He certainly seemed to be sending a warning with that look. Intriguing bird
I will say it again Bulldog, you have the most interesting birds, even those that aren’t the most colorful. Great shots! 🙂
Looks a little sneaky to me .. Unsure how trustworthy. Doubt if I would buy a used car from him.
Glad you see the look about it…. reminds me of when Linda gets the hell in …
Oh no … the Linda look that means you are in trouble!
There is something intriguing an intimate when an animal looks you dead in the eye.
I so agree Mrs P. I always wonder if it is actually summing me up as friend or foe…
I’d like to think it is a friend. I have a similar bond with a squirrel who steals my birds seed from the feeder. While most other squirrels ignore me completely and do a dash and run for the food, this one stops and stared directly at me for some time. He seems unafraid and knows I’ve been watching him. I do enjoy those moments.
There is nothing nicer than when nature shows that little bit of trust
Pragtige skerp fotos van die Hammerkop. Interesante feite.
These are great, Rob – and I love the stories as well!
From the look on its face, Rob, I think it was just humoring you. 😉
You think so? I’m not so sure… I think it was placing a curse on me… lol
Nah! I’ve seen the Stink Eye. This bird didn’t have it. My grandmother did. 😉
Beautiful photos; and thanks for the history on it and stories.
My pleasure Angeline…
He actually looks quite shy – perhaps looks are deceiving.
Looks more frightening to me… has that look that I’ve seen somewhere else…. when woman get cross… lol
ohhhh harsh lol
A very interesting read! … I wonder what this poor bird did to get some an ominous reputation? Unless it’s all the odd ceremonial behaviour when they get together 🙂
Probably from the ceremonial behavior… looks very “witch like” almost like a sorcery on the go…
Great shots, bulldog! Such strange facts you’ve shared about this bird. 🙂 Happy Sunday to you and Linda.
Thanks Sylvia… I wasn’t aware of all the strange facts till I did a bit of research…. have a good Sunday … hows the house reno’s coming on…
Hey Rob, I see this new couple has settled in at the sixth for the last 2 weeks. Never had them on the course before. No curse!!
Thanks Greg… I actually had a good day at the sixth yesterday… with all the golfers I thought I might just be wasting time… sat around at the sixth and had all the Babblers, Bee eaters, Juvy Red Bishops amid many others come and join me… it was great… got lots of photos…
wow lovely pictures
Thank you very much…
you are more than welcome
So many names and so many stories about this bird, bulldog! Wonderful photos as per usual, thanks for sharing them. ❤
Thanks Diana… had a good camera day yesterday…
It does have a disconcertingly intense stare!
Was unaware of all the thoughts about this bird till I did a research amd now I can understand a few of them… it will stand and stare at you almost hypnotically…
Sounds like a bird to stay away from!
These are the first I’ve seen in the Kalahari… maybe they looking for me
Amazing, I had forgotten all about these so thanks for the memories.
My pleasure Spook… haven’t seen them in the Kalahari before, so this was a bit of a first…
Great pictures of an unusual bird. I always remember the African name – tegwaan – from the fact that when I was a Rover Scout our scoutmaster – who had a head sticking out at the back – was called that.
Heard that name before but never knew it was referring to the hammerkop… so I have learnt something today…