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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-09-16 8:36
Viewed: 6586
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Near the Awasa Lake was a huge fishing market in the open air. Hundreds of fishermen came with their boats and cleaned the fish on the shore of this lake. All kind of fish-eating-birds like gulls, hamerkops, kingfishers, pelicans and marabous came to this shore to pick up their part. Even monkeys.

The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), is the sole member of its family, endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a denizen of marshy shorelines (lakes, rivers, estuaries), hunting along the water edge and eating mostly frogs and tadpoles. It roosts and nests in large isolated trees. Indeed, its huge bulky nests can be seen for miles.

The origins and relationships of the Hamerkop are obscure. Elliott (1992) well summarizes what is known this way: "Superficially the Hamerkop's bill recall those of both the Shoebill Balaeniceps rex [of Africa] and the Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius [of the Neotropics], but this is normally attributed to convergent evolution. It has pectinated middle toe as in the herons, a free hind toe as in the flamingos, egg-white protein like the stocks and yet ectoparisites which are only otherwise found in plovers. To confuse matters further, its habits and behaviour are unique, leaving taxonomists with little option but to place it in it own monospecific family."

The Hamerkop is about the size of a night-heron, but slimmer & longer in shape, with a weird broad bill balanced against a pointy crest out the nape, leading to an English alternate name "hammer-head." The word "Hamerkop" is the equivalent in the Afrikaans language (thus of Dutch-German origins).

The Hamerkop is a common and familiar bird throughout Africa south of the Sahara. It adapts rather well to the presence of man, and it is revered by many local tribes. It has been claimed that is the origin of more legends and superstitions than any other bird. It is considered "magical" because of its large, impregnable, inaccessible and therefore mysterious nest (Elliott 1992). Often claimed to be nocturnal, it is actually active only during the day. But, like many African birds, it feeds in the cool of the dawn and dusk, and roosts calmly during the heat of the day.

From: creagrus.home.montereybay.com

roges, maurydv, siggi, xTauruSx, zulfu, marianas, Dis. Ac., nglen, boreocypriensis, bahadir, CeltickRanger, parasbhalla, jaycee, rousettus, anemone, ferranjlloret, nasokoun, PaulH, Noisette, anel, jignasi, valy67, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-09-16 8:51]

Hallo Peter,

Bijzonder vangen. Ik heb nog nooit zo'n vogel. Ik wist niet dat er is! Cheers u dat u kunt reizen naar plaatsen minder bekend bij alle toeristen van de tafel.
Een mooie avond,

Hello Peter,
a very beautiful picture of this strange bird taken from an excellent POV in a great posture, good sharpness and marvellous colours, i like the pleasing composition with the beautiful reflections on the water.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-09-16 9:11]

Hallo Peter,

This bird is well named!
What original head!

nice view, good work!

Have a nice day,


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-09-16 9:12]

Hello Peter.
What a great capture of this hammerkopf. I've never seen this bird before. Composition is good and great use of DOF to get some seperation of the bird from the background. Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,
An interesting bird! i did not see before.
Thank you for posting this.

Ciao Peter. Amazing capture for thi strange bird in good colours and contrast. Good water 3D effect.


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-09-16 10:14]

Hello Peter, perfect shot of this realy strange bird from nice point of view with fine compozsition.
TFS and G's,

What a lovely bird, great sharp details and colors.

Hallo Peter,

dit is een prachtplaat met de golven en de aparte vogel.
Mooie warme kleuren.


  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2009-09-16 10:57]

Very interesting Bird, TFS !

Ciao Peter, great capture of strange bird, lovely composition with water in BG, fine details and wonderful sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-09-16 11:43]

Hi Peter. I must say i have never even seen this in the books let alone in wild life. A unusual looking bird. You were able to take a fine close up with good detail and natural looking colours. All with interesting notes well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2009-09-16 12:03]

Hi Peter
This görüntü çok güzel
çok iyi.

Hi Peter, thanks a lot for this novelty (et least for me)!,
You captured this beauty in a lovely pose with excellent details and clarity. Delightful composition too.
TFS and have a nice night!


Hi Peter,

TN is to learn about nature and this shot certainly fill the critieria on this shot. Great focus showing fine detail of this strange loooking bird, good dof showing the water around its feet. Thanks for sharing.
regards Bill

Hello Peter, wonderful bird.. great composition and details.

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2009-09-16 14:27]

Slav Peter,
This is very good capture of the a interesting bird with perfect natural colors and sharpness.Wonderful composition.Thanks for sharing and regards,

Hi Peter,

Interesting bird caught with wonderful details!
Great sharpness and taken from a nice POV.
The colors are very natural and greatly shown through your shot.
Great work!

Thanks and regards,

hello Peter

an amazing bird (for me), the Hamerkop it is the first time
i am seeing one, fine POV, DOF and framing of the image,
dynamic pose by the bird, fine focus excellent sharpness and details,



  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-09-16 16:20]

Hi Peter,

How nice to be neighbors again!! This Hammer Head is such a sleek looking bird with an amazing bill. He seems to be smiling for the camera. Beautiful browns, a wonderful eye, and marvelous plumage - all in fine details. I love the setting and the wonderful water.


Hello Peter
nice to see this famous Hamerkop from your camera. you greatly captured it with a great shot. focus, POV, composition and eyes contact superb. it looks very lovely. thanks for sharing it with a good information.
best wishes

Hello Peter
Very beautiful capture of this weird bird..
TFS and kind regards.

Hello Peter
excellent close-up photo of the Hamerkop, good sharpness and details, beautiful luminosity. TFS
Best Regards. Ferran.

hello Peter
very strange bird, the pose that you chose for his presentation exceptional, as the photo
TFS thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2009-09-17 12:04]

Hi Peter,
an unusal looking bird you found here! Very nice sharp focus and great timing, well done!

Hello Peter
i have never seen this species before, it's a great capture !
i like the shape of his head, you have captured it superbly, details, colors, and environment are wonderful
Have a good night

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-09-19 1:58]

Hello Peter,
Sorry I missed this interesting bird-picture. Very vivid attitude of this special-looking bird and most beautiful colors of the shot. I like especially the silver reverberations of the water.
Very well seen and excellent note.
Thanks and kind regards

Muy interesante trabajo de esta curiosa ave que yo desconocía Peter y un excelente documento para Tk. Bien situada en su hábitat. Detallada explicación que agradezco.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-09-25 22:33]

Hello Peter !
What a strange bird, I like his brown plumage and the strange shape of his head and beak. He looks so unusual, and you have captured him so nicely - great pose, excellent details, wonderful natural colors, beautiful composition and POV. The reflections on the water looks nice, too. Very informative note, too. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-10-05 7:46]

Hello Peter,
I don't know why I missed this one!
A fine capture of a Hammerkop caught in a nice pose from a great POV with excellent sharpness and lighting, the water edge of the lake providing a nice BG.
I photographed this species in gambia but it was pre-digital!
Thanks and best wishes,

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