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hammerhead

(Scopus umbretta), African wading bird, the sole species of the family Scopidae, within the order Ciconiiformes, which also includes herons, flamingos, and storks. The hammerhead ranges over Africa south of the Sahara and occurs on Madagascar and in southwestern Arabia. It is about 60 cm (2 feet) long, nearly uniform umber or earthy brown in colour, and bears a conspicuous horizontal crest on the back of its large head. The heavy, compressed, hook-tipped bill and short legs are black. Active especially at twilight, the bird sits beside a stream with its head down or wades slowly, stirring the mud with one foot and then the other, feeding on mollusks, frogs, small fishes, and aquatic insects. It builds an enormous nest of sticks, sometimes 1.8 m (6 feet) across and 1.2 m (4 feet) high, on a rocky ledge or in a tree. The nest is dome shaped with an entrance on the side and a narrow tunnel leading to a central chamber lined with mud. The bird lays three to six chalky-white eggs

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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