Scopus umbretta

Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta, photo © by Michael Plagens

On the flood plain of a small river at Eldoret, Kenya. December 2014.

From Wikipedia: Its plumage is a drab brown with purple iridescence on the back. The bill is long, flat, and slightly hooked. The neck and legs are shorter than those of most of the storks. The hamerkop has, for unknown reasons, partially webbed feet. The middle toe is comb-like (pectinated) like a heron's. Its tail is short and its wings are big, wide, and round-tipped; it soars well. 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. Vocalisations include cackles and a shrill call given in flight. Hamerkops are mostly silent except when in groups.

Scopidae -- This is the only bird in this Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 8 June 2015