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 ….
Hermie and Koppie the Hammerkops…. with a head like that one wonders what knowledge he has of golf, yet these two sat on the bridge and watched the field pass by.
“Now that is a typical in-out swing, no wonder he pushes the ball.”
“Pretend we’re not looking, I wonder how many freshies he’s had today, does look embarrassed.”
“Stop laughing at the poor bloke, I don’t know how his wife lets him go to the course dressed like that. Those colours give me the itches.”
“I wonder why they keep shouting FORE!!! think it means something?”
“Ouch!! that must have hurt… look at him rolling around on the grass holding his head. Think that FORE might have something to do with it?”
“Now I wonder what’s going on over there? You know this watching golf is interfering with frog catching?”
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta),
Hammerkop, Hammerkopf, Hammerhead, Hammerhead Stork, Umbrette, Umber Bird, Tufted Umber, or Anvilhead, the many names by which this bird is known. It is a medium-sized wading bird. The shape of its head and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name.
It is found in Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, in wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, lakesides, fish pond, riverbanks and rocky coasts in Tanzania.
The food is typical of long-legged wading birds, the most important is amphibians. They also eat fish, shrimp, insects and rodents. They walk in shallow water looking for prey, shuffling one foot at a time on the bottom or suddenly opening their wings to flush prey out of hiding.