Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hammerkop

The Hammerkop, another odd bird, is often classified near the storks, but might be closer to pelicans and cormorants. The species is found in Africa and is attracted to wetlands, even those that are created by people. I took this photo in Kenya in the early 1960s.

When courting, up to 10 birds run circles around each other. Often they practice “false mounting,” but they might not be mates and they may not actually copulate. Hammerkops build nests among the heaviest of all birds—the nests can weight up to 110 pounds! The nests are often over 1.5 meters in diameter and contain some 10,000 sticks cemented with mud. The nests are decorated with bright objects and built in trees or on the ground. They build up to five of these monster nests, even when the birds themselves are not breeding (Wikipedia).

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