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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/100 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-09-22 6:19
Viewed: 6268
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Not my first photo of this bird, but this time a portrait.

The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), is the sole member of its family, endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a denizen of marshy shorelines (lakes, rivers, estuaries), hunting along the water edge and eating mostly frogs and tadpoles. It roosts and nests in large isolated trees. Indeed, its huge bulky nests can be seen for miles.

The origins and relationships of the Hamerkop are obscure. Elliott (1992) well summarizes what is known this way: "Superficially the Hamerkop's bill recall those of both the Shoebill Balaeniceps rex [of Africa] and the Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius [of the Neotropics], but this is normally attributed to convergent evolution. It has pectinated middle toe as in the herons, a free hind toe as in the flamingos, egg-white protein like the stocks and yet ectoparisites which are only otherwise found in plovers. To confuse matters further, its habits and behaviour are unique, leaving taxonomists with little option but to place it in it own monospecific family."

The Hamerkop is about the size of a night-heron, but slimmer & longer in shape, with a weird broad bill balanced against a pointy crest out the nape, leading to an English alternate name "hammer-head." The word "Hamerkop" is the equivalent in the Afrikaans language (thus of Dutch-German origins).

The Hamerkop is a common and familiar bird throughout Africa south of the Sahara. It adapts rather well to the presence of man, and it is revered by many local tribes. It has been claimed that is the origin of more legends and superstitions than any other bird. It is considered "magical" because of its large, impregnable, inaccessible and therefore mysterious nest (Elliott 1992). Often claimed to be nocturnal, it is actually active only during the day. But, like many African birds, it feeds in the cool of the dawn and dusk, and roosts calmly during the heat of the day.

From: creagrus.home.montereybay.com

Argus, Dis. Ac., paolo49, boreocypriensis, MMM, CatherineD, siggi, marius-secan, bahadir, eng55, jaycee, Luis52, maurydv, goldyrs, haraprasan, Pentaxfriend, Mamagolo2, eqshannon, anel, anemone, Noisette, jusninasirun, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Gert-Paassen: hamerPeterZ 1 09-22 08:37
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Peter, fantastic portrait of wonderful bird on a lovely blurry Bg, beautiful natural colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-09-22 7:28]

Hello Peter
Wow! Superb portrait of this interesting bird
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-09-22 7:33]

Hello Peter,
A superb close portait of a Hamerkop. The details of the head, including the eye, plumage and bill are shown with excellent sharpness and natural colours from a pleasing POV against a clean BG.
I have seen it in Gambia and taken analogue shots of it but never got this close!
Thanks and kind regards,

Hallo Peter,

wat een voortreffelijke plaat is dit met goede detailering, achtergrond en scherpte.Prachtige kleuren.
Waarom heet hij hamerkop?


Hello Peter,
very beautiful image of this bird. Colors details and background, fantastic. A very beautiful picture. Regards, Paolo

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2010-09-22 8:55]

Hi Peter,
Excellent portrait of this Hamerkop, great sharpness and fine details, TFS!

Ciao Peter. Impressive focuese eye for an expressive portrait. Perfect sharp and stunning details with best contrast.


What a strange creature Peter! Good evening! Great use of f/5,6 here, lovely natural colors and composition! Bravo!
George Veltchev

woowww... this is incredible Peter!
Very high quality work, in a league of it's own.
The details are literally impeccable MF!
TFS and have a nice night!


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-09-22 10:54]

not the forst but....what a portait! I don't remember this bird in my visit in this park many years ago,maybe i was attract only by the pelicans..ehhe...the pic no need comment,perfect under all therms of valutation.My best compliments,have a good evening,LUCIANO

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-09-22 11:29]

Great portrait and closed up.As usual everything is fine ,nice pov and sharp image with great detail.Colors are beautiful and I also like that BG color that provided a nice contrast with the main subject.
TFS Michel

hallo Peter
een super hamerkop met veel scherpte en goede achtergrond waardoor hij goed te zien is
super mooie kleuren
groetjes lou

Hello Peter,
Amazing portrait! The light is fantastic and the colorful eye so nice. A very strange and beautiful bird. TFS. Cheers,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-09-22 12:42]

Hello Peter,
Great portrait of this Hamerkop. Excellent sharp details, vivid colours, good composition and very nice contrasting BG. Well done!
Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,
Superb details and focus. with outstanding clarity and lovely colours.
Wonderful portrait of this amazing bird.

Hello Peter,
Excellent and lovely portrait of this cute bird with excellent composition and pose!
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-09-22 14:54]

Hi Peter,
Very intereting hairdo:)Well caught and composed.Details,BG and ligting are excellent.
Thanks for sharing..

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-09-22 16:11]

Hi Peter,

This wonderful Hamerkop must have been groomed for his portrait! The head feathers, eye and beak are fantastic. Marvelous colors and super fine details of this amazing profile. Background and composition are sensational.


  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-09-22 18:37]

Hola Peter.
Lovely portrait of this funny looking bird.
The focus and BG makes it even better picture
A lot of fine details here.
TFS My friend

It's as if I could reach out and touch it. What an amazing shot Peter.


Hallo Peter,
a fantastic portrait, superb sharpness and fine detail, marvellous contrast of colours against a monochromatic delicate BG, very nice close composition
Best regards

Very sharp and well framed shot, Peter!
I love the frame!

Hi Peter,
A lovely capture of this beautiful Hamerkop bird. Nice portrait with good sharp details and also a nice composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Ha Peter,

Prachtige close-up van deze vreemde vogel
Prima scherpte en licht
fantastische details ln de bevedering
mooie contrasterende achtergrond

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2010-09-23 7:25]

Hi Peter, fascinating looking bird, your POV shows off it's most striking features perfectly. Lovely neutral background with great DOF and details too - well done.

Hello Peter,
Wonderful portrait taken from an excellent POV with fine details, lovely colours, great sharpness and blurred BG. Well done!

Hi Peter,
What a fabulous portrait of this Hammerkop. Beautiful colors with clear sharp details. Stunning. Very well done and thanks for sharing.

The close in shot gives a totally different perspective of this bird! Looks a bit nicer. Very sharp on the feathers. I can almost count the pieces...

Biuen detalle y como siempre en tus trabajos
un acertado manejo de la luz. Angulo de disparo
muy efectivo. Muy interesante y rara la especie
y un placer el poder observarla.
Saludos Peter: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-09-24 1:33]

Hello Peter,
What a beautiful bird-shot! This bird-species is so special..Marvellous light from the left side and such an interesting attitude of the Hamerkop make this picture unique. Wonderful colors too. Great shot!
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-09-24 5:12]

Hi Peter,
what a special capture of this special bird. I have never seen any like this before and what a sharpness and clarity rendered.
The uniqueness is well share and you displayed it a wonderful portrait.


Hello Peter. Splendid catch of this beauty with fine details and beautiful composition.
Kind regards,

Bonjour Peter,

I am amazed to see some bird's head fantasy (http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo244321.htm). But humans sometimes have even more fantazy with their heads.

You captured a nice light coming from behind which creates a nice rim light around its head. BG is completly blured behind and brings all attention on the bird itself. Sharpness and exposure are excellent and I like the brillance we can see in his eye. Good work and TFS.


Hello Peter,

Have seen lots of Hamerkop, but never this way!
Perfect portrait!

Hello Peter
excellent profil view of this bird with strange face, superb details on the plumage and wonderful plain BG, a GREAT portrait
thanks a lot for sharing
Have a good night

Hi Peter.
I have never seen this bird before and I must admit that the hairstyle is pretty unique.
Your mugshot has always been wonderful and details here are just fabulous.
Thanks and kind regards - Jusni

Hello Peter

It has an amazing look this bird, great portrait
with a lovely light, great focus, sharpness, details, TFS


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