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Scopidae – Hamerkop

Hamerkop in Kenya: Photo by Dorian Anderson

Welcome to our guides on Scopidae! Found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, this small family comprises only one species, the Hamerkop. Despite its modest size, the Hamerkop is a fascinating bird known for its unique nest-building behavior and distinctive appearance. Stay tuned to explore more about this intriguing species!

Overview of Scopidae

Spotted near their colossal nests, the Hamerkops, about the size of crows, appear somewhat mismatched in scale. These nests, constructed by single pairs, are so substantial that they serve as resting places and shelters for numerous other creatures. Revered in various local cultures for their exemplary parenting, these modest brown birds exhibit a heron-like gait and swallowing behavior, despite lacking the elongated neck typical of herons. With a long tail and broad wings, they present a somewhat hefty appearance, offset slightly by their crested heads. The distinctively swept-back crest, coupled with their long triangular bills, lends their heads a hammer-like shape unlike any other.