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Hamerkop's nest

Scopus umbretta


The strangest aspect of Hamerkop behavior is the huge nest, sometimes more than 1.5 m across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. The birds decorate the outside with any bright-coloured objects they can find. When possible, they build the nest in the fork of a tree, often over water, but if necessary they build on a bank, a cliff, a human-built wall or dam, or on the ground. A pair starts by making a platform of sticks held together with mud, then builds walls and a domed roof. A mud-plastered entrance 13 to 18 cm wide in the bottom leads through a tunnel up to 60 cm long to a nesting chamber big enough for the parents and young. These birds are compulsive nest builders, constructing 3 to 5 nests per year whether they are breeding or not.


This nest was huge!

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RachaelB 10 years ago

Thanks for the ID Saber - I was quite suprised that a relatively small bird could build such a thing!

Seema 10 years ago

great architecture..rain can't percolate into it..nor can wind enter..

Saber 10 years ago

With my experience, Rachel, of african birds, i can say directly it's nest of Hamerkop.

Spotted by

Mpumalanga, South Africa

Spotted on Jan 22, 2012
Submitted on Feb 13, 2012

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