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Photo Information
Copyright: Paul van Slooten (pvs) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-27
Categories: Birds, Reptiles
Camera: Sony Alfa dSLR A700, Sony 300mm F2.8 G, Digital RAW 200, bean bag
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Krugerpark October 2008
Date Submitted: 2008-10-31 9:12
Viewed: 3692
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Just returned from a phototrip to the Kruger National Park together with my mother (viv),although the park was very dry due the lack of rain we had many,many Photo opportunities,the camera clicked around 9000 times,so you can expect some more pictures from this trip in the forthcoming time,this picture is made while we were observing the bird and wildlife alongside a waterdam while we were underway from Shingwedzi to Lower Sabie,I noticed this hamerkop catching a frog and managed to capture some nice shots before it flow away with it.

hope you like it and thanks for watching


A unique and distinctive, brown bird which is unmistakable. Size 48-56 cm - about the size of guineafowl. Afrikaans: Hamerkop

The head has a heavy crest and flattened bill, which give it the "hammer" shape - from which the name is derived. The bill is black, heavy, deep and straight. The legs and feet are black, and the eye is brown.

Hamerkops are usually found singly or in small groups. They are found close to rivers and streams, as well as pans, dams, wetlands or even small rainwater puddles. They are sometimes also seen on the coast, searching rock pools for prey. Birds are usually seen at the water's edge, where they forage for frogs, fish or aquatic invertebrates. They often use a foot to stir up the mud on the bottom to chase out prey. Hamerkops may also hunt by flying slowly over the water and snatching food from the water surface.

This species sometime shows unusual behaviour where a number of birds will suddenly form a tower - sometimes of up to five birds high. Birds perch on the back of the bird below - each calling loudly and excitedly for a while and then seem to simply go off in different directions to continue their hunting. The reason for this strange behaviour is not clear.

The Hamerkop makes a loud, high pitched yelping sound: yip-purrr....yik-yik-yik-yik-purrrr, purr-yik-yik, sometimes in chorus.

It lives on frogs and tadpoles, fish and aquatic invertebrates.

This species nests from July to January. The nest is a massive structure, haystack like, and comprising of sticks, reeds, weeds and debris, placed in the stout fork of a large tree, on a cliff ledge, on large rock or even on the ground. It has an entrance on the underside, and may be built co-operatively, sometimes by several birds. The nest is very solid and durable, and is often taken over by owls, bees or other species.

meyerd, robindb, Miss_Piggy, uleko has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-31 9:31]

Hallo Paul,
Zo te lezen een onvergetelijke trip geweest. En nog naast je camera gekeken? Ik had in Ethiopië in ruim 4 weken 1800 foto's....9000! Je hebt wat uit te zoeken.
Deze Hamerkop ook vaak gezien, maar nooit met zo'n mooie buit. Deze openingsfoto belooft nog wat voor de komende periode. In één woord: schitterend! Alles in deze foto is super!

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2008-10-31 10:33]

Hi Paul,
you know your stuff. I've nothing to add except say my praise to this picture full of action and excitement. And you don't get to see a Hamerkop (=Hammerkopf in german) every day.
Best regards

Paul merhaba,çok güzel bir an.Avcı yakalamış,iş yemekte şimdi.Hareket ve kadraj çok iyi,ellerine sağlık :)

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-31 13:06]

Hi Paul . It sounds like you had a good trip. I shall look forward to the picturs as you post them. This is an unusual name for a bird. This was taken with good timing from you to see it with its catch. Good detail and natural colours. well done TFS. Interesting notes too.

Hallo Paul,
Aha een Hamerkop in Kruger. Die heb ik daar een paar keer gemist. Blij er eentje te zien. Blijer nog om dat moment te zien...
Heel leuke foto dus. Een prachtige momentopname.
Ach ja, natuurlijk...de in extremis trip naar Kruger. Had al gezien en gehoord van Robin dat de regen niet van de partij was...
De buit is natuurlijk de figuurlijke kers...
Bedankt en ik zit te popelen:-)

Hi Paul,

Hope you enjoyed your trip to us here in SA. Pity i could not arrange to meet you but i was very busy at work. Nice detail on this hamerkop showing the area that they frequent as well as the typical prey.


Hello Paul
We also experienced the park to be very dry on our trip, but just as you had ample photographic opportunities. You were really fortunate to capture this great action shot. Looking at the frog front paws it looks as if it has says “I give up”. A great capture, with great colours, motion and composition. One always see the Hamerkop by itself by the water. Your capture of the Hamerkop with its catch of the day is really special and makes me a tiny weny little jealous. At the time you have taken this photograph I was back at work and could only dream of Kruger and all its beautiful animals and sightings. Thanks for sharing.
Kind regards.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2008-11-01 1:31]

Hello Paul,
Although I have sympathy for European birds but like look at exotic birds. You managed to catch good moment. The bird is sharp and have clear colours.There is poor environment but in it light look very well.
Regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2008-11-02 4:35]

Merhaba Paul,
Bu çok başarılı bir doğal hayat belgeseli olmuş. Zamanlama ve netlik super. Başarılı bir çalışma. Eline sağlık.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-11-04 6:41]

Hello Paul,
Brilliant timing showing this Hamerkop in action and in beautiful light that's brought out the lovely colours of its plumage. Grat sharpness too and well composed.
TFS and regards, Ulla

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