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Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -5- [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-05-20 20:09
Viewed: 3923
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hamerkop / Scopus umbretta

The Hamerkop is the 19th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

General Overview
The Hamerkop must be one of Africa's best known water birds. Its comically wise appearance, hammerlike head and weird cries immediately set it apart from any other bird.

For centuries some rural black communities in Africa have regarded it with superstition–a fact which has guaranteed it some protection from persecution. However, apart from a vague reputation for being rather clever, the hamerkop does not seem to be a major object of fear.

A foraging hamerkop wades about in water, rapidly darting to and fro to catch tadpoles and small fishes, or it will stir the bottom mud with a foot to disturb water animals. If the water is too deep for wading, and the shoreline to steep for walking on, the hamerkop will hunt on the wing, catching frogs (especially platannas) as they come to the surface to take a floating insect or a gulp of air.

The hamerkop's nest is legendary–a huge, domed structure of sticks, grass and other plant material up to 2 metres diameter and weighing anything from 25-50kg. An entrance hole low down on one side, about 13-18cm in diameter, leads through a mud lined passage into a larger chamber, also lined with mud. The walls and roof of the nest can support the weight of a full grown man. The nest, which can take from as little as 3 weeks to 6 months to build, is sometimes usurped by other birds, mammals, snakes or bees. The 1-7 white eggs are incubated for about 30 days and the nestlings are able to leave the nest after about 7 weeks.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

bobair, boreocypriensis, ubc64, mamcg, cloud, siggi, Argus, jlinaresp, marius-secan, briGG, Luis52, CeltickRanger, Adanac, vanda, wishnugaruda, Dis. Ac., Noisette, anel, matteo86, uleko, bahadir has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To mwmod99: HamerkopMiss_Piggy 1 05-20 23:10
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,neat looking bird you grace TN with today as it looks like a mutated duck of sorts but most certainly isn't.Birds fascinate me and with some 10000 species worldwide I don't think I'll ever tire of our fine avian friends.This is a species I have never seen or heard tell of, until now.I like the fact that the bird is right out in the open for the clear line of sight and all the details show up well for that reason and the focus is sharp.The bird has a good colour and it certainly would help it hide if disturbed.Thanks for the view.


Hi and Good Morning Anna,

A beautiful shot. The sharpness of the hamerkop is superb, while the blurr greenery bakground compliments the colors perfectly.
Nice lighting also, a very pleasing composition.
TFS and have a nice day MF!


  • Great 
  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2010-05-20 21:56]

Hi Anna,
Nice posing hamerkop,well exposed and good focus.Great feathered datails as well as its colouration.The feathers have created that "soft feel".Well done and have a good week end.
PS: I think im going to give the "pan" one more try ......its really been boring there for some time now.

  • Great 
  • ubc64 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 21 N: 208] (789)
  • [2010-05-20 21:56]

Hi Anna,

I've seen many water birds, but I've never seen anything like the Hamerkop. The shot you have presented is remarkable in its clarity and colour. It looks like you were very close to the bird. Your open aperture has caused the Hamerkop to stand out very well. TFS.


This gorgeous bird is responsible for the death of my Koi fishes in Johannesburg, Anna! So I hate it! But, great presentation from your site, wonderful posture of the bird, lovely soft light and brilliant composition indeed! Have a great day, Anna!
George Veltchev

  • Great 
  • mamcg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 333 W: 13 N: 91] (9843)
  • [2010-05-21 1:23]

Hi Anna,

Me only can dream of such place to be or to make shot of beautiful bird like this, it is an eye pleasing shot and very cool. The sharpness is perfect as the composition is superb also the colours are true, TFS.


  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2010-05-21 3:02]

Hello Anna,
When I look at this bird, although see first time, expect also uncommon its sounds. Photo taken perfectly its figure is visible very well.
Best regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-05-21 3:46]

Hello Anna,
another strange bird for me. Nice to see from a distance place in good details and natural colours.
The feathers is wonderfully composed seen in a very smooth and neat view.
The background is nicely blurry to complement the brown plumage.


Ciao Anna, great capture of lovely bird, I never see before, yhanks, beautiful natural ambientation, wonderful colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-05-21 4:38]

Hello Anna,
Great capture with superb details, colours and focus.The composition is amazing. Best regards Siggi

Hallo Anna,
another fantastic species of bird from the Kruger National Park, excellent detail on the plumage and splendid natural colours, i like the dorsal POV in a very nice composition with a lovely posture of this Hamerkop.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-05-21 7:21]

Hello Anna,
A very nice capture of this strange bird of the heron family, the Hammerkop. The rear POV is nicely complimented by its turned head posture and its features are shown with fine sharpness and colours. Nice lighting to give a great eye contact and the contrasting OOF green BG is excellent.
Thanks and I wish you and Loot a nice weekend,

hello Anna
Great picture with good details and nice pose
beautiful colours
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-05-21 8:47]

Your 19th is again a beauty, Anna.
Fantastic sharpness and details in this well known Hamerkop. Great DOF with this green BG. Very beautiful natural colours. The POV, eye contact and DOF are marvelous.

Hello Anna friend,
74.3mm is the focal length with 15x optical zoom, no? ... It seems to me that Sony bridge maintains very good resolution in these conditions! Really you manage your camera very well! good job! good POV, nice semi-blurred BG with f/4.5, I know how hard it is to achieve this with cameras brige! congratulations! Also good information attached! TFS, regards, I whish a WE happy for you!

Great pose showing off the details in the feathers. Nice and crisp sharpness and also the obligatory glint in the eye. Perfect!

Hi Anna,
I love your POV on this along with the soft slightly OOF textured grass background, sometimes it nice to have that instead of a completely OOF background. Well done. :)

Hello Anna,
Excellent capture with superb focus and wonderful details.
very good composition.

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2010-05-21 12:20]

Hello Anna,

"The Hamerkop must be one of Africa's best known water birds."
Certainly, but I do not know!

Super strange ... and you have succeeded in his portrait!
Thank you


  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-05-21 15:01]

Hola Anna.
Bella la foto. Exelente el angulo desde donde se logra la imagen, pues asi se aprecia mucho mejor el plumaje y su pico. Fotografiar aves con plumas negras tiene un cierto grado de dificultad, sin embargo aqui se logra una exelente imagen.
La nota escrita es muy interesante.
Saludos Anna.

hello Anna

it is the first time i am learning (or i don't remember) and viewing
a photo of this African water bird, you did an excellent close-up
photo with very fine POV and appropriate framing, excellent focus
sharpness and details, beautiful luminosity and catch-light, TFS


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-05-21 18:10]

Hallo Anna,
What a stoot bill this species has, you have captured him extremely well here Anna. The colours look natural, the plumage details are excellent and the composition is very appealing. Great work and thank you for sharing.

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2010-05-23 9:02]

Hi Anna!
What a nice and strange bird...I have never seen it before.
Excellent the details of the plumage and splendid light. Very beautiful the pose of the bird :) Excellent blurry B/G.
ciao! vanda

Hello Anna
Superb photo, great contrast and sharpness.
Perfect colors, beautiful setting and excellent POV.
Congratulations and thanks for sharing
Hello Vanni

Hi Anna,
you captured this interesting bird excellent, when we see the head from the side we know why this bird has that name.
It's a wonderful and sharp shot, you are so lucky to see such amazing animals.
Thanks for sharing it with us
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Hi Anna,

The hamerkop an really dutchname with good pov and dof and details.
Loks he are standing on an balcon of something.
Fine colours.


Hello Anna
another beautiful and very special bird species from the Kruger Park
fantastic fine details on his brown plumage, especially on his back,
great pose, superb colors and nice BG
i like his imperessive bill
Have a good night

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-05-25 4:22]

Hello Anna,
It has a funny way to look your Hamerkop! This bird seems to be something special.. Intersting point of view, giving a good view on the plumage and the head too. I like the natural colors and the well matching tints of your shot.
Thanks also for your kind critique of my alpine flowers.
Take care. Kind regards

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2010-05-25 13:19]

Merhaba Anna,
çok asil bir duruşu var, netlik ve detaylarıyla harika bir fotoğraf olmuş.
Tebrikler, selam ve sevgiler..

another so interesting specie, never seen before.
very cool one
thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • krall Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 190 W: 0 N: 47] (1286)
  • [2010-05-26 14:43]

Hallo Anna,

Superb photo, great contrast and sharpness.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-05-27 7:56]

Hello Anna,
I remember this bird from Gambia where we saw a whole flock together having great arguments and their behaviour was fascinating to watch. I like your capture showing it from a fine POV with its head turned. Good focus on the eye and the hind feathers look so beautiful and sharp. Nicely framed too!
TFS and all the best, Ulla

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-05-29 6:01]

Hello Anna,
I know this may be hard to believe, but I have never heard of this particular bird before. Maybe if I come over on a mission trip someday I'll get to see one of these common water birds in person.
The first thing I noticed about this fellow was his large stout bill, I would imagine there is a special use for such and heavy looking appendage. I would also have to believe that they must be a real sight to see while in flight, probably something like a pelican.
You have done a wonderful job of capturing this bird with all his interesting characteristics and unique features. Thank you for sharing this fine image with all of us.

Hello Anna again, this is also excellent shot from nice viewpoint. Great details and composition.
TFS and regards,

Gracias como siempre por tus amables comentarios Anna.
Otra especie curiosa de tu tierra para deleitarnos; cada vez que salgo al campo ( y es casi a diario) me doy cuenta de lo degradado que tenemos nuestro entorno, y lo peor es que seguimos sin reaccionar. Por eso, cuando veo tus trabajos, tengo sana envidia.
Un abrazo: Josep Ignasi.

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