Hammerkop in the vines

by / Monday, 25 April 2016 / Published in Interesting news

This Hammerkop has now taken up residence in the vines at Pagelhouse, boldly exploring the grounds for the next meal.

Description – Wikipedia

The hamerkop is a medium-sized waterbird, standing 56 cm (22 in) high and weighing 470 g (17 oz), although the subspecies S. u. minor is smaller. Its plumage is a drab brown with purple iridescence on the back; S. u. minor is darker. The tail is faintly barred with darker brown. The sexes are alike and fledglings resembled adults.[9] The bill is long, 80 to 85 mm (3.1–3.3 in), and slightly hooked at the end. It resembles the bill of a shoebill, and is quite compressed and thin, particularly at the lower half of the mandible. The bill is brown in young birds, but becomes black by the time a bird fledges.[9]

Hamerkop in flight, with spread tail showing barring

The neck and legs are proportionately shorter than those of similar looking Ciconiiformes. The bare parts of the legs are black and the legs are feathered only to the upper part of the tibia. The hamerkop has, for unknown reasons, partially webbed feet.[15] The middle toe is comb-like (pectinated) like a heron‘s.[9] Its tail is short and its wings are big, wide, and round-tipped; it soars well, although it does so less than the shoebill or storks.[9] When it does so, it stretches its neck forward like a stork or ibis, but when it flaps, it coils its neck back something like a heron.[15] Its gait when walking is jerky and rapid, with its head and neck moving back and forth with each step. It may hold its wings out when running for extra stability.[16]

Hammerkop 1