Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today


Scopus umbretta


Medium sized wader, standing at some 50 cm of height. Easily recognizable, this is an all brown bird with a diagnostic and really unique head in a form of anvil or hammer (which is the origin of the name - hammerkopf, hammerkop, anvilhead).


Hamerkop is an African sedentary bird, abundant all over continent, including Madagascar, but also some parts of Arabian peninsula. I saw it often in Ethiopia, in all regions (highlands and semi-desertic lowlands), but usually close to water bodies - lakes, (like is the case of this spotting - lake Awasa, or Hawasa; true birdwatcher paradise); or birkads and ponds in drier zones. Indeed, hamerkop thrives in shallow waters, where it forages.


The origins and classification of this bird are still mysterious - it is the only member of the family Scopidae, and the family is sometimes classified within the Ciconiiformes order, and more often, Pelecaniformes order.

No species ID suggestions


SukanyaDatta 11 months ago

This is one of the birds I want to see...I read somewhere that its nest can support the weight of a human being! Wow. Thanks for sharing.

Brian38 11 months ago

Nice spotting Zlatan!

Southern Nations, Ethiopia

Lat: 7.08, Long: 38.47

Spotted on May 17, 2002
Submitted on Feb 11, 2018

Related spottings

Hamerkop Hamerkop Hammerkop Hamerkop

Nearby spottings

Speckled Mousebird Guereza African Fish-Eagle Wattled Ibis