large bill, medium-length legs; hammer-like head (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

Scopus umbretta

Native Range: Africa

Notes: this chicken-sized bird gets its name from the shape of its head, which resembles a hammer because of the large bill in front of the head in combination with the crest at the back; oddly, this species has some webbing at the base of its toes desite the fact that it doesn't swim but rather walks through wetland habitats; this species belongs to a monotypic family, meaning in this case that it is the only living species in the Scopidae; no sexual dimorphism; has an odd behavior in which groups of up to 10 individuals join in "ceremonies" that involve running around each other while calling loudly and raising their crests; this species also builds huge domed stick nests that can be nearly two meters in diameter and strong enough to support a grown man's weight.

frontal view; brown all over (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

silhouette showing the "hammerhead look" (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

posing for a body portrait (Zoo; 2012-09-19)

nest (Zoo; 2012-10-09)

posing for a head portrait (Zoo; 2012-10-09)