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Photo Information
Copyright: Joe Kellard (joey) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-09-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM, Digital ISO-1600, Hoya 77mm UV Filter
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Funny Faces, Great Portraits, Silpa's "Unforgettable" Favourites !!! [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-10-21 3:51
Viewed: 3632
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I photographed this unusual bird on a photography day at Cotswold Wildlife Park. The weather was foul and the shutter-speeds plumetted in the low light so I was forced to push the ISO up to 1600 which in turn made the colours all contrasty and saturated. Though I didn't intend for this effect to happen, I quite like it :-)

COMMON NAME: hammerkop, hammerhead stork, anvilhead
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
ORDER: Ciconiiformes
FAMILY: Scopidae
GENUS SPECIES: Scopus (broom made of twigs) umbretta (umbrella crest)

DESCRIPTION: All brown body; partly webbed toes; short tail and huge wings; crest on the back of the head; thick, long beak

SIZE: 47.5-50 cm (19-20 in.)
MALE text

WEIGHT: 415-430 g (14.5-15.05 oz.)
MALE text

DIET: Frogs (especially Xenopus laevis or the platanna frog), fish, and invertebrates

CLUTCH SIZE 3-7 days

RANGE: South and Central Africa, South Arabia, and lowland Madagascar

HABITAT: Shallow freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps, and marshes

1. Hammerkops are the smallest African stork.

2. Hammerkops sometimes participate in group ceremonies. As many as ten birds call loudly while running round each other in circles. Next, a male will pretend to copulate with a female. With their crest raised, wings fluttering, a chorus of cries continues for several minutes. Only after this elaborate display, does breeding take place.

3. These birds are famous for their strong, three-tiered nests. The nest is up to 180 cm (6 ft.) high, 180 cm (6 ft.) wide, and can weigh 24.75-49.5 kg (55-110 lbs.)! It is made of sticks, reeds, grass, and dead plant stems placed in a tree fork, on a cliff or on the ground. Such a structure takes 3 to 4 months to build and can easily support a human's weight!

4. Hammerhead birds are often seen perching on the back of hippopotamuses, searching for frogs.

5. These birds are notorious for their nest-building habits. In fact, they often provide nests for other species such as certain owls, geese, ducks, kestrels, and pigeons.

According to superstitions, hammerkops are bad omens, and it is considered bad luck to harm them. Such superstitions have kept the birds somewhat protected.

iris, crs, NinaM, pekkavalo1, eqshannon, jaycee, horia, nglen, Hil, boreocypriensis, Silvio2006, MMM, Adanac, LordPotty, Alex99, vanderschelden has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To boreocypriensis: Deletedjoey 2 10-23 11:44
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-10-21 4:03]

Hello Joe,
This is a very funny picture of a very funny bird!! We've seen groups of them in Gambia and watched their amuzing behaviour. It looks as if it would prefer hot Gambia to rainy England! :-) Excellent sharp details and fine colours. The wet look is really great! Well done!
TFS and cheers, Ulla

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-10-21 4:11]

Hi Joe,today an unusual portrait,very very hugly bird ;-) but very very top quality pic as your style! Finally something to different on TN,my best compliments for this impressive work,have a nice day,Luciano

Hola Joe, excelente retrato, con muy buena definición y detalle. Muy buena aproximación, un saludo

En voilà un qui a une tête comique.
Bonne journée.

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-10-21 4:34]

Hi Joey,
What a stunning shot, this is fantastic!!!!
I think the portrait makes the bird look really remarkable as it's head is what that makes it looks very interesting.I googled to see a full size shot of this strange stork and I have to say i like this portrait better.That catchlight seem to give the impression of a certain amused expression in the eye of the bird.
I am one for well saturated colours and i love the warm colours that have come about perhaps as a result of the camera settings you had to resort to.The green BG makes a nice contrast to the dark brown shades on its plumage.The water droplets and the wet look give a real impression of it being photographed in its natural habitat.
Congratulations on this rare cpature and i wud love to show this in my "Unforgettable" theme.
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-10-21 4:38]

Hello Joe,

Your photo is extremly sharp despite the difficult lighting condition you describe. Even finest details of bird's plumage can be seen. The water falling from bird's beak makes the photo even more dramatic.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-10-21 4:43]

Hello Joe,
First time we are neighbours!
A fantastic capture of a wet Hammerkop. The eye contact is superb in this close-up and the sharpness excellent against the natural-looking OOF BG. I don't think I've seen a wetter looking bird - quite comical!
TFS this delight,

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-10-21 5:53]

This is the kind of picture I would hang on my wall, a huge one! It is great and detailed, the colours are gorgeous and the wet bird, well, it's original and so natural. C'est superbe! I had never seen such an anvilbird. Great notes as well, Joey, thank you and have a great day!


hello joe,
very nice portrait of this unusual looking bird, the details of the pluage are excellent, the tight composition works well, excellent dof and a fine bokeh,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hi Joe,
Very good close-up shot of this Hammerkop with good POV and composition, pin sharp details. The colours are just perfect. I don't think that if the day is very dull that should show in your pictures unless there is good reason for that. You just have to be careful not to overdo it. This one is perfect.

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2008-10-21 7:25]

It's so wonderful!
I like you picture so much. Wonderful portrait of amazing bird!

Funny in a way Joey..Cotswold sounds liek this bird looks:-) A unique bird for sure and certainly well caught on digital. It lost nothign in translation and your notes are above the top!

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-10-21 8:35]

Hello Joe,
Very nice capture.I liked POV,framing and composition a lot.TFS

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-10-21 9:35]

Hi Joe,

My first reaction was, "What is that???" Wow, what a portrait of this strange bird. That beak and I are amazing. He may be all brown but the colors and shadings are beautiful. Excellent details of the wet feathers. Of course the background and compostion are great.


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-10-21 10:45]

Hi Joe

You quite like it?!? You, modest you! This is really fantastic!
I actually think this is one of your best bird shots...no understatement. The contrast and colors here are really amazing and the foul weather you complain about helped you do that really...You know this is the same situation, but reversed: you mentioned that the bad weather helped me get some good mood in my English landscapes and know i'm "returning the favor" :))

That aside now, i really like your side POV and the details you've got fro here. The very high ISO here is only visible in the really dark parts, but other than that, it's really no problem at all (at this size, of course).
Anyway, i say again: this is a stunning portrait, mate!


PS: Ohh...forgot about the drops of water...they're also a nice bonus to the scene!

Hi Joe
Greta shot despite the low light levels. Goes to show if you don't try you never find out! The fact that it is soaked through makes it look even more strange.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-10-21 11:14]

Hi Joe. Whats this I Quite like it Its a first class picture of this unusual looking bird. Poor thing looks fed up in the rain. But to me this is what has held to make this one great. You have taken it with good detail and natural colours. very well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-21 12:02]

Hello Joe,
The quality of Joe's photo's is always amazing. So is this one. Everything in this photo is again of a very high quality standard. If this Hammerkop could see itself it will fall in love. Technical perfect with a perfect BG.

  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2008-10-21 13:10]

Hi Joe,

I looked at this and thought what on earth is that, then I thought it looked a bit like Profesor Yaffle from Bagpuss, (probably way before your time).
Anyway I have never seen one of these ever before or heard of their name.
great shot, with very nice details with the wet feathers.
Excellent colours and a nice catchlight in the eye too.


Hi Joe,

A great portrait capture of this beauty with wonderful details, DOF and POV.
TFS and greetings from Cyprus,

Ps. My last posting (a murex shell which I dedicated to Prof. Atatur (matatur)-disappeared from my gallery without any explanation on this from TN.

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-10-21 19:01]

Hi Joey
Excellent portrait.Good POV and very sharp image.Detail are excellent.Nice OOF Bg
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-10-21 19:09]

Hello Joe,
Excellent camera work in this lovely portrait of this strange looking fellow. Outstanding image Joe, thank you for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-10-21 23:09]

Hi Joe,
Outstanding shot of this interesting Hammerkop with immaculate sharpness and moreover the drenched plumage looks amazing. Nice calm pose captured and I like the reflection on its eye too. Looks majestic. Excellent DOF, POV and composition.

Hello Joe

Another fine and well detailed shot.
Wonderful focus and sharpness.
The colours are well saturated.
Excellent eye clarity and catch light.
You have filled the frame well,nicely composed.


Hi Joe, superb portrait of strange bird with fantastic details and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-10-22 6:36]

Hello Joe! More details thn this isimpossible, great portrait my friend, another perfect shot!


  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2008-10-22 11:40]

Hi Joe
Very nice portrait of a interesting bird,
Nice colours good light and sharpness details.
Nice drops of water on body.
Regards Jiri.

WTF? ....I mean 'Gosh!What a curious looking bird!'
Actually,I think I might have seen this before.
You've captured it perfectly anyway.
Excellent exposure and composition.
Awesome colour and detail.
Just brilliant!
Well done!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-10-23 23:58]

Hi Joe.
Pictured model is so amazing as well as the quality of the shot. Superb in every respect portrait work. Bravo.

Hi Joey,
What a stunning portrait of an unusual specie! This is one of the strangest birds I have seen but it is beautiful! This is an excellent portrait with great sharpness and composition. This is very well done,

PS ISO 1600 looks good here!

Hello Joe,
Fascinating bird, the Hammerkop.
Very good close up through the overall sharpness. The wet look is definitely extraordinary...
Well done!

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